Understanding Diverse Pathways: Disciplinary Trajectories of Engineering Students: Year 3- NSF REE Grant 1129383
Engineering as a whole continues to suffer from a low participation of women of all races andBlack, Hispanic, and Native American men. To diversify pathways for students to and throughengineering and to improve student success, we must first know how to measure success andprovide baseline data describing the current situation for all students. Our previous work hasshown that persistence or success varies by race and gender, and how we measure persistencematters in understanding this variation. Once women matriculate in engineering, they graduate insix-years at the same or better rates than their male counterparts of all races. This finding,however, shows considerable variation by engineering subdiscipline. Aggregating allengineering disciplines tends to produce a skewed view of the field given the large numbers ofstudents in Electrical and Mechanical engineering. Disaggregation by race and gender isimperative because not all populations respond the same way to similar conditions. Building onearlier findings that trajectories of engineering persistence are non-linear, gendered, andracialized as a whole and for electrical and computer engineering, we are extending theseanalyses to other engineering disciplines. Using an existing dataset that includes wholepopulation data from eleven institutions throughout the U.S. spanning more than 20 years, wehave an unprecedented opportunity to conduct analyses of student persistence disaggregated byrace, gender, and engineering discipline. This gives us a unique opportunity to paint a morecomplete picture of the current situation for students in engineering and to identify successes andareas of concern. Our research question is How do the trajectories of engineering students indifferent engineering disciplines vary by race and gender? Trajectories are measured atmatriculation, four years later, and six-year graduation for matriculants to the disciplines as wellas all students in the major, including first-time-in-college (FTIC) and transfer students. Theimpact of first-year engineering (FYE) programs is also considered. We focus on the mostpopular disciplines of engineering: Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial. Inaddition, we have considered Aerospace Engineering given its similarity in curriculum toMechanical and Computer Engineering given its similar curriculum to Electrical. We have begunto work on comparisons of the five most popular engineering disciplines.
Engineering education, Disciplinary trajectories, Engineering Students
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