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Understanding Diverse Pathways: Disciplinary Trajectories of Engineering Students: Year 3- NSF REE Grant 1129383

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.11.1 - 26.11.11



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Paper Authors


Susan M Lord University of San Diego

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Susan M. Lord received her B.S. from Cornell University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Chair of Electrical Engineering at the University of San Diego. Her teaching and research interests include electronics, optoelectronics, materials science, first year engineering courses, feminist and liberative pedagogies, engineering student persistence, and student autonomy. Her research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Lord is a fellow of the ASEE and IEEE and is active in the engineering education community. In Spring 2012, Dr. Lord spent a sabbatical at Southeast University in Nanjing, China teaching and doing research.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Matthew W. Ohland is Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by over $14.5 million from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and his team received Best Paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011 and from the IEEE Transactions on Education in 2011. Dr. Ohland is Chair of the IEEE Curriculum and Pedagogy Committee and an ABET Program Evaluator for ASEE. He was the 2002–2006 President of Tau Beta Pi and is a Fellow of the ASEE and IEEE.

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Richard . Layton Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Richard Layton is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He received a B.S. from California State University, Northridge, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. His areas of scholarship include student teaming, longitudinal studies of engineering undergraduates, and data visualization. His teaching practice includes formal cooperative learning and integrating communications, ethics, and teaming across the curriculum. He is a founding developer of the CATME system, a free, web-based system that helps faculty assign students to teams, conduct self- and peer-evaluations, and provide rater training.

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Engineering as a whole continues to suffer from a low participation of women of all races andBlack, Hispanic, and Native American men. To diversify pathways for students to and throughengineering and to improve student success, we must first know how to measure success andprovide baseline data describing the current situation for all students. Our previous work hasshown that persistence or success varies by race and gender, and how we measure persistencematters in understanding this variation. Once women matriculate in engineering, they graduate insix-years at the same or better rates than their male counterparts of all races. This finding,however, shows considerable variation by engineering subdiscipline. Aggregating allengineering disciplines tends to produce a skewed view of the field given the large numbers ofstudents in Electrical and Mechanical engineering. Disaggregation by race and gender isimperative because not all populations respond the same way to similar conditions. Building onearlier findings that trajectories of engineering persistence are non-linear, gendered, andracialized as a whole and for electrical and computer engineering, we are extending theseanalyses to other engineering disciplines. Using an existing dataset that includes wholepopulation data from eleven institutions throughout the U.S. spanning more than 20 years, wehave an unprecedented opportunity to conduct analyses of student persistence disaggregated byrace, gender, and engineering discipline. This gives us a unique opportunity to paint a morecomplete picture of the current situation for students in engineering and to identify successes andareas of concern. Our research question is How do the trajectories of engineering students indifferent engineering disciplines vary by race and gender? Trajectories are measured atmatriculation, four years later, and six-year graduation for matriculants to the disciplines as wellas all students in the major, including first-time-in-college (FTIC) and transfer students. Theimpact of first-year engineering (FYE) programs is also considered. We focus on the mostpopular disciplines of engineering: Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial. Inaddition, we have considered Aerospace Engineering given its similarity in curriculum toMechanical and Computer Engineering given its similar curriculum to Electrical. We have begunto work on comparisons of the five most popular engineering disciplines.

Lord, S. M., & Ohland, M. W., & Layton, R. (2015, June), Understanding Diverse Pathways: Disciplinary Trajectories of Engineering Students: Year 3- NSF REE Grant 1129383 Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23344

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