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Using Design to Understand Diversity and Inclusion within the Context of the Professional Formation of Engineers

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: Design

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35461

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35461

Download Count

142

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Paper Authors

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Carla B. Zoltowski Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Carla B. Zoltowski is an assistant professor of engineering practice in the Schools of Electrical and Computer Engineering and (by courtesy) Engineering Education, and Director of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program within the College of Engineering at Purdue University. She holds a B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. in Engineering Education, all from Purdue. Her research interests include the professional formation of engineers, diversity, inclusion, and equity in engineering, human-centered design, engineering ethics, and leadership.

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Andrew O. Brightman Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Andrew O. Brightman serves as Assistant Head for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Engineering Practice in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. His research background is in cellular biochemistry, tissue engineering, and engineering ethics. He is committed to developing effective pedagogies for ethical reasoning and engineering design and for increasing the diversity and inclusion of engineering education.

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Patrice Marie Buzzanell University of South Florida Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0058-7676

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Patrice M. Buzzanell is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida and Endowed Visiting Professor for the School of Media and Design at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Fellow and Past President of the International Communication Association (ICA), she served as President of the Council of Communication Associations and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender. She is a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association. Her research focuses on career, work-life policy, resilience, gender, and engineering design. She received ICA’s Mentorship Award and the Provost Outstanding Mentor Award at Purdue, where she was University Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair and Director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence. She has worked with Purdue-ADVANCE initiatives for institutional change, four EPICS teams including Transforming Lives Building Global Communities (TLBGC) in Ghana, and individual engineering ethical development and team ethical climate scales as well as everyday negotiations of ethics in design and professional formation of engineers through NSF funding. [Email: pmbuzzanell@usf.edu; buzzanel@purdue.edu]

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Sean Eddington Kansas State University

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Sean Eddington (Ph.D., Purdue University) is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Kansas State University. Sean’s primary research interests exist at the intersections of organizational communication, new media, gender, and organizing. Within engineering contexts, Sean has examined career issues within the engineering discipline regarding (1) new faculty experiences throughout their on-boarding and (2) educational cultures that impact the professional formation of engineers, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. Both projects have been published in the Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education. He has also served as a series editor, contributed to trade publications, and facilitated workshops related to higher education administrators’ work experiences. Sean is also actively engaged within mentoring activities, and has served as an advisor to multiple student leadership organizations including Beta Theta Pi, which he has received both campus and international awards for his service and mentoring to the Purdue chapter.

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Danielle Corple Wheaton College

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Danielle Corple is an assistant professor in the Communication Department at Wheaton College, IL. She studies organizational communication, ethics, and diversity and inclusion.

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Memoria Matters Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Memoria Matters is a PhD student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She is also pursuing a Master's degree at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering for computer engineering, in which she obtained her BSE from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interest is in increasing the diversity of engineering by improving the inclusivity of engineering higher education through teaching methods, policies, and culture change.

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Virginia Lynn Booth-Womack Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Virginia received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a B.A. in Psychology while at Purdue University. She is currently the Director of Minority Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering. She assumed the position in 2004 after 18 years of manufacturing experience. Her last assignment was Lean Manufacturing Manager for the for the 3.7L and 4.7L Mack Engine facilities at Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, Michigan. Virginia has applied lean manufacturing concepts to identify and close the achievement gap between under-represented minority engineering students and the total engineering cohort. This was achieved focusing on first semester performance and first year retention through implementation of an aggressive transition program targeting first year engineering students from historically under-represented groups. She recently was called upon to serve as interim Executive Director for the National Society of Black Engineers from December 2013 through August 2014 during which time the organization experienced membership growth and strong metric focus towards goal attainment.

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Abstract

Three broad and enduring issues have been identified in the professional formation of engineers: 1) the gap between what students learn in universities and what they practice upon graduation; 2) the limiting perception that engineering is solely technical, math, and theory-oriented; and 3) the lack of diversity (representation of a wide range of people, thought, and approaches toward engineering) and lack of inclusion (belonging and incorporating different perspectives, values, and ways of thinking and being in engineering) in many engineering programs. These are not new challenges in professional formation. Furthermore, these issues are highly complex, interconnected, and not amenable to simple solutions, that is, they are “wicked” problems. We argue that wicked problems are best understood and mitigated through design thinking as it is a useful perspective for addressing complex and ambiguous issues. Thus, this NSF-funded RFE study utilizes a design thinking approach and research activities to explore foundational understandings of formation and diversity and inclusion in engineering while addressing the three project objectives: 1) Better prepare engineers for today’s workforce; 2) Broaden understandings of engineering practice as both social and technical; and 3) Create and sustain more diverse and inclusionary engineering programs.

Our project is organized around the three phases of the design process (inspiration, ideation, and implementation), and embedded within the design process is a longitudinal, multiphase, mixed-methods study. Although the goal is to eventually study these objectives on a broader scale, we begin by engaging faculty, students, and staff members within two related, but distinctly different departments, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Biomedical Engineering (BME) departments at Purdue University.

In year one, we implemented activities of the Inspiration Phase which included collecting and analyzing survey, interview, and observation data from a broad set of stakeholders which included faculty, staff, and administrators and students (undergraduate and graduate) in both ECE and BME departments. During year two, the Ideation phase, we facilitated design sessions with faculty, staff, and students from each of the two departments to investigate underlying issues and then to develop prototypes related to diversity and inclusion and professional formation. During the Implementation phase, in year three, we worked with BME and ECE stakeholders to further define and develop the prototypes. Additionally, we continued to assess stakeholders’ understanding of the effectiveness of design thinking toward organizational change in both departments.

In the paper, we provide an overview of our emerging findings and key outcomes from across all phases of the project. Specifically, we will discuss how the research has identified ways in which understandings of diversity and inclusion are impacted significantly by the local contexts of each department and compounded by the larger College/University/discipline-wide understandings of who is an engineer and what skills legitimize the identity of “an engineer.” Additionally, we are developing strategies and tools using design thinking that other academic programs can potentially use to address complex issues in their departments.

Zoltowski, C. B., & Brightman, A. O., & Buzzanell, P. M., & Eddington, S., & Corple, D., & Matters, M., & Booth-Womack, V. L. (2020, June), Using Design to Understand Diversity and Inclusion within the Context of the Professional Formation of Engineers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35461

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