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Work In Progress: The Impact of Project-Based Service Learning on Students' Professional Identities and Career Readiness

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Project-Based Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29185

Download Count

53

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Paper Authors

biography

Huihui Wang Jacksonville University

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Dr. Huihui Wang, is an assistant professor and the Chair of the Engineering Department at JU. JU is a private, undergraduate liberal arts institution in northeast Florida. Within our College of Arts & Sciences, the STEM disciplines continually draw the largest student enrollment numbers. In 2015, the Engineering Department transitioned from its 30 year history as an engineering dual degree program to a four year onsite program. The former program was affiliated with seven well-known universities including Columbia University, the University of Florida, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. JU opted to establish the onsite engineering program based on students’ needs and interests as identified through feedback from the previous dual degree program. This four-year program can confer a BS degree in mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. The new engineering department has added two more faculty positions, put $200,000 towards upgrading equipment and facilities, increased retention rates and increased internship opportunities (Dr. Wang has supervised several interns). As a member of ASME, ASEE, IEEE, Florida Engineering Society (FES), and an advisor of NSPE JU Chapter, she actively participates in conferences, workshops and professional activities.

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Steven Christopher Davis Jacksonville University

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Dr. Steven Davis is an associate professor of Education at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL. Dr. Davis has been a teacher educator for over 20 years with specializations in curriculum and instruction, educational research, education philosophy, and Special Education. As a former elementary school teacher, Dr. Davis employs his knowledge of best practice in his areas of expertise to help undergraduate and graduate education students prepare for careers as effective practitioners.

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Emre Selvi Jacksonville University

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Emre Selvi is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Jacksonville University. He received his academic degrees in Mechanical Engineering; B.S. and M.S. from Middle East Technical University and PhD from Texas Tech University. Prior to starting his Ph.D. in 2004, he worked as a Design and Production Engineer for Aselsan Inc. over four years. His research interests are high pressure material science and engineering design, especially as it relate to educational environments.

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Laura C. Atkins Jacksonville University

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Laura C. Atkins is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Jacksonville University. She is also the director of the university's service-learning and experiential learning programs. Her research interests are in experiential learning, civic engagement and community. Laura holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Abstract

This project is still in the status of work in progress. Project based service-learning (PBSL), as an innovative pedagogy and strategy, has been integrated into engineering education through curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in many universities to improve engineering education with many favorable impacts on students. There is evidence that PBSL has a positive influence on student learning outcomes, as well as on an institution’s recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. However, to our knowledge, little research has been conducted to understand possible correlations between PBSL and the formation of a student’s professional identity, and prepare them to formally enter their chosen careers. Professors from Departments of Engineering, Education and Sociology at a small predominantly undergraduate institution (PUI) and liberal arts (LIA) private university, are designing and trying to integrate four PBSL activities into our engineering curricula to improve student learning, facilitate the transition from students to professionals and prepare them for their careers with the guidance of career counsels at our career resource center. The four PBSL activities are: 1) “I am an instructor in a STEM class” in engineering orientation class in order to bridge the gap between the high school and college education. 2) “Design a smart food delivery system in a local food pantry” in technical communication class. 3) “A community-based internship course for improving water quality in St Johns River”. 4) “FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics coach program”. Through this project, we will seek answers to the following research questions: 1) What are the impacts of different types of PBSL on formalizing an engineer’s identity, especially at a PUI LIA university? 2) What are impacts of PBSL on the students’ levels of career readiness? 3) What correlations exist between the varied identities and career readiness?

A mixed research method will be used to measure outcomes of students corresponding to each PBSL practice. One-to-one participant interviews (qualitative) will be conducted to measure the impacts of PBSL on students’ identities. Survey (quantitative) and interview data will be used to measure the impacts of PBSL on students’ career readiness and to help form correlations between the identities and career readiness. An inventory list of engineering identities, derived from analysis of data, will be presented after a cycle of interviews focused on the four PBSL activities. A list of potential career matches for each student will be given after surveys to triangulate findings from other data collection. Consulting will also be provided by career counsels at our career resource center after surveys to help students understand their survey results and explore potential careers. Correlations between identities and career readiness will be formed through analysis of interview and survey data.

Wang, H., & Davis, S. C., & Selvi, E., & Atkins, L. C. (2017, June), Work In Progress: The Impact of Project-Based Service Learning on Students' Professional Identities and Career Readiness Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29185

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