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Using Self-determination Theory to Guide Mentoring Activities for Underrepresented Students in Engineering Technology Programs

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

STEM Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Dell Rochester Institute of Technology

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Professor Dell is a Professor in the Manufacturing & Mechanical Engineering Technology department at RIT. She is the Director of the AdvacneRIT office which supports the retention, recruitment, and advancement of women faculty. Senior Faculty Associate to the Provost for Women Faculty. Her research interests include characterization of biodegradable plastics and environmental consideration in materials selection for production design, the impact of technology paired with active learning pedagogies on student learning, and effective strategies for increasing gender diversity in STEM disciplines.

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Jeanne Christman Rochester Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jeanne Christman is an Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning. Utilizing her educational background, her teaching specialty is digital and embedded system design and her research areas include engineering education culture, equity in engineering education and increasing diversity in STEM through transformation of traditional teaching methods.

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Jennifer A. O'Neil Rochester Institute of Technology

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Jennifer A. (Mallory) O'Neil received her B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008 and Purdue University in 2012, respectively. In 2016 she joined the faculty of the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology. She currently teaches undergraduate courses in the thermal fluid sciences and introductory engineering courses. Her research interests are in the area of spray physics, focusing on pediatric nebulizer devices, and in engineering education, focusing on mindset.

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Self-Determination Theory (SDT) posits that when three basic psychological needs-competence, relatedness and autonomy-are met, individuals will be intrinsically motivated to support their own personal growth and well-being. Using self-determination theory to inform practice, the Self-Determination Critical Mass of Engineering Technology Scholars (SD-CoMETS) project at XXX seeks to build a more diverse student population through the recruitment and retention of students to the Engineering Technology (ET) programs within the College of Engineering Technology (CET) at XXXX. This project is funded by a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science Technology & Math (S-STEM; NSF Award No. ######) awarded in 2020. The SD-COMETS program is a comprehensive program aimed at increasing enrollment of economically disadvantaged, academically talented students in ET academic programs at XXX, with targeted recruitment of underrepresented groups. The project is designed to increase first and second-year persistence, known to be the critical years for degree completion. Using a research-based approach, factors in the engineering education environment that contribute to the underrepresentation of women; First Generation; African American, Latin American and Native American (AALANA); and Deaf or Hard of Hearing students in these programs, are addressed. The scholarship program includes the development of a comprehensive Scholar Support Network (SSN) and activities to promote inclusive pedagogical practices that engage a broader spectrum of learners and support competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Each SD-CoMETS scholar will work with a faculty mentor to develop their personalized SSN and be provided guidance on how to best make use of it. This paper presents the Faculty Mentoring Scholars Protocol developed to guide mentoring practice and evaluation of mentoring activities for the SD-CoMETS program.

Dell, E., & Christman, J., & O'Neil, J. A. (2021, July), Using Self-determination Theory to Guide Mentoring Activities for Underrepresented Students in Engineering Technology Programs Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38000

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