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Your Views Can Be My Views: Understanding Differences in Paradigms Held by Traditionally Marginalized Students in Engineering

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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

Critical Conversations on Being Valued

Tagged Divisions

Equity and Culture & Social Justice in Education

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Qualla Jo Ketchum Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Marie C. Paretti Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16

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Marie C. Paretti is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, design education, and gender in engineering. She was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study expert teaching in capstone design courses, and is co-PI on numerous NSF grants exploring communication, design, and identity in engineering. Drawing on theories of situated learning and identity development, her work includes studies on the teaching and learning of communication, effective teaching practices in design education, the effects of differing design pedagogies on retention and motivation, the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration in both academic and industry design environments, and gender and identity in engineering.

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Homero Murzi Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16

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Homero Murzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech with honorary appointments at the University of Queensland (Australia) and University of Los Andes (Venezuela). He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering (BS, MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Engineering Education (PhD). Homero is the leader of the Engineering Competencies, Learning, and Inclusive Practices for Success (ECLIPS) Lab. His research focuses on contemporary and inclusive pedagogical practices, emotions in engineering, competency development, and understanding the experiences of Latinx and Native Americans in engineering from an asset-based perspective. Homero has been recognized as a Diggs Teaching Scholar, a Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence Fellow, a Global Perspectives Fellow, a Diversity Scholar, a Fulbright Scholar, and was inducted in the Bouchet Honor Society.

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Andrew Katz Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Andrew Katz is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He leads the Improving Decisions in Engineering Education Agents and Systems (IDEEAS) Lab, a group that uses multi-modal data to characterize, understand, and improve decisions made throughout engineering education ecosystems.

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Broadening participation and making higher education more inclusive is a national imperative, especially within engineering education. A necessary step towards this goal is changing prevailing beliefs and practices about who belongs in engineering. To create this change, though, we need a better understanding of how the structures and practices of engineering are often grounded in the worldview of the dominant culture, which marginalizes non-dominant communities and worldviews (Garibay and Teasdale, 2019). Hence, we need an understanding of how other worldviews can also be incorporated in engineering. Because world views are often influenced by individuals’ home cultures (Byars-Winston, 2014), this marginalization is particularly true when we consider cultures that diverge from the anthropocentric paradigm that dominates White European cultures – including engineering education - and instead embrace more ecologically-centric perspectives. This study utilizes the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale to measure a person’s endorsement of a “pro-ecological” or environmental worldview or framework (Anderson, 2012) versus the dominant social paradigm(DSP). The NEP instrument was first published in 1978 as a way to measure a possible societal shift after the US environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s (Dunlap and Van Liere, 1978). The purpose of this research is to explore the potential relationships between participants’ paradigms and their racial and ethnical backgrounds. We thus ask the question, “What is the relationship between an individual’s racial or ethnic backgrounds and their likelihood of holding the NEP?” To explore this question, quantitative survey data from senior engineering students were collected utilizing the NEP instrument and participants’ demographic data. A Pearson’s chi-square test found that there is a significant relationship between which paradigm is endorsed by the participant and their race/ethnicity, X2(5) = 13.84, p < .05. Students from traditionally marginalized populations (i.e., Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous students) were 1.34 (1.08, 1.66) times more likely to endorse the NEP than their white counterparts. Future work will include not only exploring more of the questions in the survey to see if other patterns in paradigm or worldview can be seen for these groups, but developing approaches to support disaggregation of the data. We provide implications for research, policy, and practice, including an understanding of how culture and background influence paradigms can help inform initiatives geared towards broadening the participation of traditionally marginalized students in STEM.

Ketchum, Q. J., & Paretti, M. C., & Murzi, H., & Katz, A. (2021, July), Your Views Can Be My Views: Understanding Differences in Paradigms Held by Traditionally Marginalized Students in Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38227

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