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The Quest for URM Doctoral Persistence: An Analysis of Feedback Loops in the Academic System

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Conference

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Analysis of Feedback Loops, Understanding the Impact of a LSAMP Scholar Program, Sustainable and Equitable Infrastructure, and Indigenous Innovators

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering Division(MIND)

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

16

DOI

10.18260/1-2--44479

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/44479

Download Count

104

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Paper Authors

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Martha Lucia Cano-Morales Rowan University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3713-7038

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Current Ph.D student in Engineering Education at Rowan University. Received the B.S. degree in
electronics engineering from Pontificia Universidad
Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, and the M.S. degree in
critical systems and networks from Université Paul
Sabatier, Toulouse, France, in 2006. She has worked
as professor at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana since
2006.

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Michael Corey Weinberg

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Eduardo Rodriguez Mejia Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0009-0007-5522-0069

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Hi, my name is Eduardo, I am a Rover Scout and professional Electronic Engineer with a Masters degree in Electronic Engineer. I am pursuing my PhD in Engineering with a Concentration in Engineering Education within the ExEEd department. I am interested in new teaching methodologies that involve a hands on experience that let students see, smell, and feel the things that they are learning about.

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Juan M. Cruz Rowan University

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Juan M. Cruz is an assistant professor in the Experiential Engineering Education Department at Rowan University. He has a B.S. in Electronic Engineering and a Master's in Education from Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, and a Ph.D. in engineering education from Virginia Tech.

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Gwen Lee-Thomas Quality Measures, LLC Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9063-2770

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Dr. Gwen Lee-Thomas is the CEO of Quality Measures, LLC, a Virginia-based consulting firm specializing in program and project evaluation, accreditation preparation, and capacity building. With 20 years of experience in project evaluation and implementatio

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Tech

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Dr. Holly Matusovich is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Studies in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and a Professor in the Department of Engineering Education where she has also served in key leadership positions. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and leadership related to graduate student mentoring and faculty development. She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, received the College of Engineering Graduate Student Mentor Award in 2018, and was inducted into the Virginia Tech Academy of Faculty Leadership in 2020. Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 19 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award, with her share of funding being nearly $3 million. She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 34 journal publications, and more than 80 conference papers. She is recognized for her research and teaching, including Dean’s Awards for Outstanding New Faculty, Outstanding Teacher Award, and a Faculty Fellow. Dr. Matusovich has served the Educational Research and Methods (ERM) division of ASEE in many capacities over the past 10+ years including serving as Chair from 2017-2019. Dr. Matusovich is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Advances in Engineering Education and she serves on the ASEE committee for Scholarly Publications.

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Mayra S. Artiles Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7604-0410

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Mayra S. Artiles is an assistant professor in engineering at the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Her research expertise includes engineering doctoral education structure, experiences of underrepr

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Abimelec Mercado Rivera Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8899-7671

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Abimelec Mercado Rivera is a Puerto Rican doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Engineering Education Systems and Design program at Arizona State University. Abimelec received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) in 2016. After working in the aerospace industry, he returned to the UPRM for his MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2017, where he pursued ways to tailor ideation methods to interdisciplinary teams as part of his thesis work, and had the opportunity to teach undergraduate ME courses. His previous efforts and experiences in engineering education helped shape his overall goal of fostering human-centered education systems, which led him to pursue his PhD at ASU.

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Stephanie G. Adams University of Texas at Dallas

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Dr. Stephanie G. Adams is the 5th Dean of the Eric Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas, Dallas and Past President of the American Society of Engineering Education. Previously Dr. Adams served as the Dean of the Fr

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Abstract

Studies have shown that the graduation rate for underrepresented minorities (URM) students enrolled in engineering doctorates is significantly lower than their peers. In response, we created the “Rising Doctoral Institute (RDI)”. This project aims to address issues that URM students encounter when transitioning into a Ph.D. in engineering and their decision to persist in the program. To suggest institutional policies that increase the likelihood of URM students to persist in their doctorate, we identify and analyze some factors in the academic system that reinforce or hinder the retention of URM students in doctoral education. Although the factors that influence persistence in URM students have been largely studied as direct causes of attrition or retention, there is a need for a system perspective that takes into account the complexity and dynamic interaction that exists between those factors. The academic system is a complex system that, by nature, is policy resistant. This means that a positive variation of a factor can incur unintended consequences that could lead to a negative variation in other factors and ultimately hinder the positive outcomes of that policy. In this work-in-progress article, we analyze the dynamics of the factors in the academic system that reinforce or hinder the retention of URM graduate students in engineering. The purpose is to build some of the causal loops that involve those factors, to improve the understanding of how the complex system works, and prevent unintended consequences of institutional policies. We used Causal Loop Diagrams (CLD) to model the feedback loops of the system based on initial hypotheses of causal relationships between the factors. We followed a process that started with establishing hypotheses from a previous literature review, then using a different set of articles we identified the factors related to the hypotheses and the causal links between them. Next, we did axial coding to group the concepts into smaller categories and established the causal relations between categories. With these categories and relations, we created the CLDs for each hypothesis. For the CLDs that have connections missing to close the loop, we went to find additional literature to close them. Finally, we analyzed the implications of each CLD. In this article, we analyze and describe three major CLDs found in the literature. The first one was built around the factor of having a positive relationship with the supervisor. The second centered on the student’s experience. The third focused on factors that relate to university initiatives.

Cano-Morales, M. L., & Weinberg, M. C., & Rodriguez Mejia, E., & Cruz, J. M., & Lee-Thomas, G., & Matusovich, H. M., & Artiles, M. S., & Mercado Rivera, A., & Adams, S. G. (2023, June), The Quest for URM Doctoral Persistence: An Analysis of Feedback Loops in the Academic System Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--44479

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