Asee peer logo

WIP: Impacts of COVID-19 on Diverse Engineering Students’ Sense of Belonging

Download Paper |

Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38089

Download Count

17

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Jessica Belue Buckley University of Louisville

visit author page

Dr. Buckley is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Louisville.

visit author page

author page

Brian Scott Robinson University of Louisville

biography

Tom Tretter University of Louisville

visit author page

Dr. Thomas Tretter is professor of science education, director of the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Teacher Development, and director of the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium at the University of Louisville. His scholarship includes collaborative efforts with science and engineering faculty targeting retention of STEM majors in entry-level STEM courses.

visit author page

biography

Alexandria Hammond University of Louisville

visit author page

Alexandria is working towards a Master of Education degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a Graduate Research Assistant through the College of Education Department. Alexandria's research interests include racial trauma, race-based stressed, and historical trauma.

visit author page

biography

Angela Thompson P.E. University of Louisville

visit author page

Dr. Angela Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Louisville. Dr. Thompson received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville. Her research interests are in biomechanics and engineering education, particularly related to first-year programs and critical thinking instruction.

visit author page

biography

James E. Lewis University of Louisville

visit author page

James E. Lewis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals in the J. B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville. His research interests include parallel and distributed computer systems, cryptography, engineering education, undergraduate retention and technology (Tablet PCs) used in the classroom.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This work-in-progress paper is focused on studying the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on engineering student sense of belonging at the XXXXX (XXXX) at the University of XX (XXX). In response to COVID-19, the vast majority of collegiate institutions have shifted most courses to remote and/or hybrid format, which may result in diverse engineering students facing a “triple threat” to their sense of belonging in engineering courses since STEM disciplines, minoritized student identity, and remote course formatting can all impede belonging. Diminished sense of belonging can impact retention and persistence of diverse students, potentially intensifying imbalances that already exist in STEM fields. Therefore, this project is designed to study the impact of the current, remote educational environments on diverse students in pandemic-modified engineering fundamentals courses.

This multi-phase (summer & fall 2020), concurrent, mixed-methods project design will address the following research questions: (a) How do historically underrepresented engineering students (specifically racially/ethnically underrepresented students, first generation, women, and students from low income backgrounds) perceive their sense of belonging in involuntary remote/hybrid courses and why? (b) What elements of remote/hybrid engineering courses are most influential for fostering belonging across the entire spectrum of engineering students? The project uses the concept of sense of belonging (measured with an existing 4-item scale for which the institution has historical engineering student responses), which is an empirically documented forecaster of student success, given that it also captures the relative connectedness or isolation especially minoritized students may feel in a discipline like engineering. In addition, because of the importance of examining sense of belonging in the context of a remote/hybrid course, the Community of Inquiry framework, designed to examine key elements of an online course, serves as a study framework (measured with an existing 34-item survey). Data collection includes surveys of first year engineering students, small focus groups with students from populations of interest, and course observation. The mixed methods design provides intellectual merit as it provides both examination of the overarching relationships among belonging, student identity, and course delivery as well as in-depth understanding of why and how elements of a course relate to students’ sense of belonging. Results from the study will be assessed via an existing interdisciplinary team studying engineering education. Prospective impacts of the findings from the study include the potential to help campuses mitigate potential threats facing diverse students currently in remote/hybrid courses due to the pandemic and to craft future online STEM courses that avoid such threats. This project is supported via an NSF RAPID award created by the IUSE program in the Division of Undergraduate Education (Education and Human Resources Directorate), using funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Buckley, J. B., & Robinson, B. S., & Tretter, T., & Hammond, A., & Thompson, A., & Lewis, J. E. (2021, July), WIP: Impacts of COVID-19 on Diverse Engineering Students’ Sense of Belonging Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38089

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015