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Using Interactive Theater to Promote Inclusive Behaviors in Teams for First-year Engineering Students: A Sustainable Approach

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Undergraduate Track - Technical Session II

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Undergraduate Education

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29592

Download Count

42

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Paper Authors

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Karen E. Rambo-Hernandez West Virginia University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0001-8107-2898

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Karen E. Rambo-Hernandez is an assistant professor at West Virginia University in the College of Education and Human Services in the department of Learning Sciences and Human Development. In her research, she is interested the assessment of student learning, particularly the assessment of academic growth, and evaluating the impact of curricular change.

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Abhik Roy West Virginia University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7085-8964

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Dr. Abhik Roy is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the Learning Sciences and Human Development Department within the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University. He earned his Ph.D. in Program Evaluation from Western Michigan University and currently conducts research on how evaluators create and utilize theory and the pedagogy of teaching developmental evaluation. His current teaching focus is in program evaluation, various research methods, and social network analysis.

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Melissa Lynn Morris West Virginia University

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Melissa Morris is currently a Teaching Associate Professor for the Freshman Engineering Program, in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University (WVU). She graduated Summa cum Laude with a BSME in 2006, earned a MSME in 2008, and completed her doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2011, all from WVU. At WVU, she has previously served as the Undergraduate and Outreach Advisor for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and the Assistant Director of the Center for Building Energy Efficiency. She has previously taught courses such as Thermodynamics, Thermal Fluids Laboratory, and Guided Missiles Systems, as well as serving as a Senior Design Project Advisor for Mechanical Engineering Students. Her research interests include energy and thermodynamic related topics. Since 2007 she has been actively involved in recruiting and outreach for the Statler College, as part of this involvement Dr. Morris frequently makes presentations to groups of K-12 students, as well as perspective WVU students and their families.

Dr. Morris was selected as a Statler College Outstanding Teacher for 2012, the WVU Honors College John R. Williams Outstanding Teacher for 2012, and the 2012 Statler College Teacher of the Year.

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Robin A. M. Hensel West Virginia University

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Robin A. M. Hensel, Ed.D., is the Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. While her doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on higher education teaching of STEM fields, she also holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics. Dr. Hensel has over seven years of experience working in engineering teams and in project management and administration as a Mathematician and Computer Systems Analyst for the U. S. Department of Energy as well as more than 25 years teaching mathematics, statistics, computer science, and freshman engineering courses in higher education institutions. Currently, she leads a team of faculty who are dedicated to providing first year engineering students with a high-quality, challenging, and engaging educational experience with the necessary advising, mentoring, and academic support to facilitate their transition to university life and to prepare them for success in their engineering discipline majors and future careers.

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Jeremy Clinton Schwartz West Virginia University

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Jeremy C. Schwartz is a second-year Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) student at West Virginia University.

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Rebecca A. Atadero Colorado State University

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Rebecca Atadero is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University, specializing in structural engineering. She conducts research on the inspection, management and renewal of existing structures, and on how to develop inclusive and equitable learning environments in engineering

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Christina Paguyo University of Denver

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Abstract

Working in teams is essential to being a successful engineer (ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, 2016). Several researchers have documented dysfunctional team behaviors that are particularly problematic for women in engineering working in teams, such as women being relegated to helping roles (Seron, Silbey, Cech, & Rubineau, 2016), women not speaking up when they are in the minority in groups (Dasgupta, Scircle & Hunsinger, 2015), and men on teams more likely to present technical content and answer audience questions (Meadows & Sekaquaptewa, 2013).

Rather than addressing these issues of inequity by providing additional support and training for women and other underrepresented populations, a different, holistic approach, was taken in this research. As part of an NSF supported initiative, multiple activities intended to develop an appreciation for diversity in engineering and promote inclusive behaviors in teams were integrated into four first-year engineering courses at a large mid-Atlantic university. An additional four sections received the course as typically taught. Intervention and comparison classes were balanced across instructors. All eight classes are participating in regular surveys throughout the semester to assess the impact of the interventions.

This manuscript assesses the impact of one of those pilot activities, an interactive theatre sketch. In the interactive theatre sketch, students in the intervention sections watch a scene of a three-person engineering team that demonstrates some dysfunctionality, such as being unable to move past a small mistake the woman made during the previous assignment and accusing her of becoming “too emotional” when she defended her work in the current lab. After the scene, students from the audience volunteer to be the fourth person on the team to try to intervene to help the team to function better. Trained facilitators walk students through what worked well in the intervention and how to improve the team’s functionality, with a particular eye toward issues of gender and inequity. Qualitative data was collected last fall through a survey to assess what students learned about working in teams. Students in both the intervention and comparison sections were questioned about what they learned about working in teams and what activities helped them learn about working in teams. An exploratory scheme was added to the existing explanatory framework to analyze the data. In this two-tiered process, a group of a priori codes, used as indicators of well-defined inclusion-exclusion criteria for a thematic analysis of the response data, have been determined by outcomes of studies found in an exhaustive literature review of similar initiatives, primarily existing outside of engineering. Independent of the pre-set codes, response sets were independently coded by two different raters to determine emergent themes. Themes will be discussed along with any differences observed between students in the comparison and intervention classes. Practical tips and observations about how to implement theatre sketches to maximize their impact on students’ ability to work in teams will also be addressed.

Rambo-Hernandez, K. E., & Roy, A., & Morris, M. L., & Hensel, R. A. M., & Schwartz, J. C., & Atadero, R. A., & Paguyo, C. (2018, April), Using Interactive Theater to Promote Inclusive Behaviors in Teams for First-year Engineering Students: A Sustainable Approach Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29592

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