CAREER:	  Learning	  from	  Small	  Numbers:	                                                                             ...
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CAREER: Learning from Small Numbers: Using personal narratives by underrepresented undergraduate students to promote institutional change in engineering


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CAREER: Learning from Small Numbers: Using personal narratives by underrepresented undergraduate students to promote institutional change in engineering

  1. 1. CAREER:  Learning  from  Small  Numbers:   Using  personal  narratives  by  underrepresented  undergraduate   This   material   is   based   upon  work  supported  by   students  to  promote  institutional  change  in  engineering the   National   Science   Foundation   under   Grant   Alice  L.  Pawley,  School  of  Engineering  Education,  Purdue  University.   No.  EEC-­‐1055900.;  1300  Neil  Armstrong  Hall  of  Engineering,  701  W.  Stadium  Dr,  West  Lafayette  IN  47907Project  rationaleIn   recent   decades,   hundreds   of   educational   interventions,   thousands   of   • spanned   the   space   of   gender,   race,   and   engineering   by   exploring   • rely   on   statistical   methods   to   claim   generalizability,   even   though   the   • Rather  than  use  methods  for  studying  large  numbers  of  people  where   we  do  research   programs,  and  millions   of  dollars  of   federal  funding,  have  addressed   underrepresented   peoples   relationships   as   young   students   with   peers,   numbers  of  white   women  and  people   of  color  in  the  study  populations   are   not   have   large   numbers,   it   uses   methods   that   allow   researchers   to   “learn  the   underrepresentation   of   white   women   and   people   of   color   at   all   career   teachers   and   parents,   as   young   ethnically   diverse   women   and   men   with   usually   too   small   to   justify   powerful   signi)icance   claims.   The   number   of   from  small  numbers.”  levels  and  across  all  disciplines  of  engineering  [e.g.,  1].  Researchers  seeking  to   media,   role   models,   and   career   visions,   as   undergraduate   and   graduate   people   of   color   speci)ically   is   usually   so   small   that   researchers   lump   all   • Rather   than   completing   group-­‐level   analyses   to   tell   individuals   how   to  understand  white  women  and  people  of  color’s  underrepresentation  have students  with  teams,  mentors,  and  technical   material,  and  as   professionals   ethnicities  of  color  together  to  contrast  with  white  populations,   or  say  that   better   )it   into   existing  institutions,   it   examines  a  small  number  of  individual  •  explored  gender  and  race  differences  in  psychological  constructs,   cognitive   with  colleagues,  peer-­‐reviewers,  and  institutional  leaders. no  claims  can  be  made  about  race  altogether; narratives   in   great   depth   to   examine   institutional   structure   as   the   unit   of   skills,   affective   measures,   and   social   behaviors   considered   relevant   to   While  these   studies   have   helped  the   engineering   education  enterprise   make   • provide  solutions  that  continue   to  rely  on  moulding  individuals  to  better  Mit   analysis.   students’  engineering  educational  success.   modest   improvements  in  the   numbers  of  white   women  and  people  of  color   in   into   existing   institutional   structures,   despite   collective   calls   to   “)ix   the   • Rather  than  primarily  studying  engineering  educational  institutions  that  are  • striven  to  understand  the  impact  of  implicit  bias,  chilly  climate,  and  micro-­‐ engineering   undergraduate   programs,   these   improvements   seem   to   have   system,  not  the  student;”   relatively   not   successful   at   educating   white   women   and   people   of   color,   it   inequities   on   white   women’s   and   people   of   colors   continued   low   rates   of   plateaued   [2].  The  numbers  of   white  women  and  people   of  color   in  engineering   • focus   on   primarily   white   institutions   (PWIs)   and   neglect   those   institutions   focuses   on   institutions   that   are   successful,   such   as   women’s   colleges   and   entry   into   and   comparatively   high   rates   of   exit   from   the   engineering   have  not  increased  proportionately  to  the  effort  expended  by  the  community.   which   successfully   educate   relatively   large   numbers   of   white   women   and   MSIs. educational   and   professional   “pipeline”   compared   to   their   white   male   This  project  argues  that  an  explanation  for   this  persistent  state  can  be  found   people   of   color   in   engineering:   women’s   colleges   and   minority   serving   In  this  project,   we  use  personal  narratives   of   people  considered  marginalized   colleagues.   in   methodological   and   theoretical   limitations   of   these   studies,   which,   to   a   institutions  (MSIs). in   engineering   education   undergraduate   programs  in  the   US   to   map   out  the   large  extent: This  project  addresses  these  limitations  by  importing  powerful  theoretical  and   gendered   and   raced   structure   of   the   broader   institution   of   engineering   methodological   tools   designed   to   understand   gender   and   race   in   institutional   education.   context.  Research  study Educational  plan   Research studyGoal:   To   identify   institutional-­‐level   characteristics   RQ1.  How  do  underrepresented  undergraduate   Main  audience:  People  in  positions  of  leadership  who  of)icially  construct  the  policy  texts  which  govern  the  lives  of  present   in   post-­‐secondary   engineering   educational   engineering  students  describe  their  interactions   engineering undergraduates undergraduate  engineering  students,  people  who  may  have  less  daily  contact  with  undergraduate  students  than  they  used  structures   that   strongly   support   or   challenge   the   with  educational  institutions  through  personal   Personal to  or  that  they  would  like,  and  who,  as  situated  at  primarily  white  institutions  (PWIs),  may  not  have  had  the  opportunity  to  academic  success  of  underrepresented   undergraduate   narratives? narratives: learn  in  depth  about  the  lived  educational  experiences  of  (some  or  different)  underrepresented  undergraduate  students  students.   To   accomplish   this   goal,   I   will   collect   and   RQ2.   What   institutional   factors   do   these   narratives   “Tell me how you before.  In  particular,  we  will  target  deans,  department  heads,  and  chairs  of  undergraduate  curriculum  committees.analyze   personal   narratives   contributed   by   under-­‐ reveal   that   affect   the   educational   persistence   and  represented  students  situated  at  institutions  that  have   create came to be where you Workshop  content:  We  will  develop  narratives  (from  the  research  study)  into  detailed  personas,  which  will  form  the   success   of   white   women   and   students   of   color   in  histories   of   successfully   recruiting,   retaining,   and   undergraduate   engineering   educational   instit-­‐ are now.” main  content  of  a  four-­‐hour  workshop  for  engineering  education  leadership,  structured  around  the  provocative  question:  graduating  white  women  and  students  of  color.   “What  would  engineering  education  [at  this  institution,  at  others]  designed  around  the  lives  of  white  women  and  people  of   utions? color  look  like?”  The  narratives  collected  through  the  research  component  will  be  processed  into  these  individual  or   composite  personas  ⇣.    Depending  on  the  interview  data⇠  collected,  personas  may  be  based  on  individuals’  interviews,  or   narratives created  as  composites  of  several  individuals.  Personas  will  be  compiled  into  a  workbook,  and  three  will  be  selected  for  Theoretical  framework inclusion  in  the  formal  curriculum  of  the  workshop  based  on  the  demographic  and  institutional  makeup  of  the  workshop  Intersectionality:  A  theory  )irst  articulated  by  black  feminist  scholars  such  as  Kimberlé  Crenshaw,  bell  hooks  and   to make visible Design participants.  Personas  will  be  interspersed  between  mini-­‐lectures  where  participants  learn  how  to  “learn  from  small  Patricia  Hill  Collins  that  holds  as  its  key  contribution  the  notion  that  race  and  gender  can  not  be  understood  separately   numbers”  from  both  the  research  )indings  and  personas.  The  participants  will  receive  a  copy  of  the  persona  workbook  to  from  one  another,  nor  separately  from  other  critical  social  categories  such  as  class,  nationality,  age,  ability,  sexuality,  and   challenge: refer  to  during  a  design  challenge,  the  outcome  of  which  will  be  demonstrated  to  the  rest  of  the  group  through  an  other  social  dimensions.  Research  informed  by  intersectionality  argues  the  relationship  between  social  categories  is  not  additive,  but  is  perhaps  complexly  multiplicative. “What would informance  ⇣  designed  through  a  design  challenge⇠.   engineering engineering Workshop  implementation  and  dissemination:  4  workshops  to  be  held  (two  at  Purdue,  one  at  ASEE  and  FIE  each).    Ruling  relations:  Dorothy  Smith  de)ines  ruling  relations  as  “that  internally  coordinated  complex  of  administrative,   Workshop  will  be  drafted  into  a  guidebook  and  posted  at  the  Collaboratory  for  Engineering  Education  Research   educational institutions as education designed (,  Engineering  Pathway  (,  and  the  CIRTL  Network  (,  professional,  and  discursive  organization  that  regulates,  organizes,  governs,  and  otherwise  controls  our  societies.  It  is  not  yet  monolithic,  but  it  is  pervasive  and  pervasively  interconnected”  [p.  49,  28].  It  is  these  ruling   gendered, raced around the lives ofrelations  that  people  both  experience  and  reproduce  to  organize,  for  example,  academic  institutions  to  value  certain  forms  of  knowledge  and  knowing,  certain  ways  of  investigating  the  world,  and  certain  modes  of  collecting  and  analyzing   women and people Design  research  toolsdata.    Smith  argues  that  policies  construct  the  ruling  relations  of  institutions,  thereby  constructing  the  institutions   of color look like?” Personas:  Wrom  narratives  ⇠,  wanalytical  strategies  ethods  that  preserve  the  narrative  “voice”  of  pnformation  about   institutions  f hile  we  use  various   e  also  need  other  m to  concentrate,  aggregate,  and  communicate  i articipants.  Design  themselves.  She  argues  that  mapping  the  relationships  between  people’s  experiences  of  the  policies  and  the  policies   researchers  working  at  design  )irms  such  as  IDEO,  Cheskin,  or  Interval  Research  have  developed  an  innovative  method  themselves  will  help  us  understand  the  social  geography  of  institutions,  as  well  as  different  institutional  aspects  of  the   that  can  facilitate  this  transformation:  the  creation  of  personas,  or  short  pro)iles  of  )ictionalized  individuals  who  may  gendered  and  raced  structure  of  academic  work. to understand represent  aggregated  data  about  design  populations  in  a  narrative  and  speci)ic  way.    By  leveraging  this  respected  approach   Legend to  design,  the  narratives  ⇠  collected  through  the  research  component  will  be  processed  into  these  individual  or  composite  Participants,  interviews Second  pass:  40  engineering  undergraduates  at  4   personas informance personas,  which  often  include  a  name,  representative  image  or  photograph,  demographic  characteristics,  behavioral   additional  institutions  that  have  a  higher  representation   characteristics,  barriers  or  challenges,  and  speci)ic  goals  or  needs.First  pass:  60  undergraduate  students  from  MSIs  and   RQs of  women  or  students  of  color  as  engineering  PWIs  attending  national  conferences  for: uses Informance:  while  reading  the  personas⇡  may  be  themselves  critical  learning  experiences,  design  researchers  have  also   Educational undergraduates  than  the  national  average  OR  who  have  a  • American  Indian  Science  and  Engineering  Society   higher  number  of  women  or  people  of  color  participants   developed  methods  by  which  they  embody  (even  bodily)  the  daily  experiences  of  their  design  population  who  are  often   (AISES) socially,  economically,  or  demographically  far  removed  from  the  designers  themselves.  Brenda  Laurel,  Eric  Dishman,  and   overall.• National  Society  of  Black  Engineers  (NSBE) Interviews:  90  minute  open  interviews  around  the   engineering education participants Bonnie  Johnson  have  introduced  informance—a  concept  that  combines  the  words  "information"  and  "performance"  —as  • Society  of  Hispanic  Professional  Engineers  or  Society   one  of  these  learning  tools.     for  Advancement  of  Chicanos  and  Native  Americans  in   question,  “Tell  me  how  you  came  to  be  where  you  are   leadership now.”    Transcripts  shared  and  pseudonymized  according   By  combining  personas  and  informance,  the  educational  component  of  this  project  represents  a  transformative  approach   plan Science  (SACNAS) tools to  participant’s  wishes. to  moving  research  into  practice—an  approach  drawn  from  the  design  activities  at  the  heart  of  engineering  itself.• Society  of  Women  Engineers  (SWE) Analysis:  inductive  and  deductive  coding,  to  answer  RQs  pending  support  and  approval  granted  by  governing   about  institutional  structure  impact,  and  construct  councils  of  elders  and  other  leadership. narratives  for  personas  ⇢  in  educational  plan. About  the  RIFE  Group Educational  plan “Take  [this]  story,  for  instance.    It’s  yours.    Do  with  it   We  are  the  Research  in  Feminist  Engineering  Group  (RIFE).   We  are   a   diverse   set  of  researchers   in   the   School  of   Engineering  Education   at   Our  Vision Our   job   is  to  think  creatively   about   gender   and  engineering   education,   and  to  ReferencesResearch  study   Dishman,  E.,  Designing  for  the  New  Old:  Asking,  Observing  and   Performing  Future  Elders,  in  Design  Research:  Methods  and   what  you  will.    Tell  it  to  friends.    Turn  it  into  a   Purdue   University.     We   blend   feminist   theory  and   methods   with   engineering   educational  research  questions. think   about,   write,   and   teach   in   ways   that   will   result   in   a   change   in   how   engineering   education   is   done.   To   that   end,   we   ask   big   questions,   undertake  Crenshaw,  K.,  Demarginalizing  the  Intersection  of  Race  and  Sex:  A  Black   Feminist  Critique  of  Antidiscrimination  Doctrine,  Feminist  Theory,  and   Perspectives,  B.  Laurel,  Editor.  2003,  MIT  Press:  Cambridge,  MA.  p.   television  movie.    Forget  it.    But  don’t  say  in  the  years   We   try   to   do   things  a  little  differently  than  a  conventional   research  model.    We   want  to   empower  people  in  our  diverse  community.      From  developing  action-­‐ ambitious  projects,  and  employ  appropriate  rigorous  research  methods. Antiracist  Politics.  University  of  Chicago  Legal  Forum,  1989. 41-­‐48. to  come  that  you  would  have  lived  your  life  differently   Dina  Banerjee,  Ph.D Jordana  Hoegh,  M.S. Don,  A.  and  J.  Petrick,  User  Requirements:  By  Any  Means  Necessary,  in   research   collaborations   with   professors,   to  looking   for  projects   to  beneWit   our   Sociology Sociologyhooks,  b.,  Feminist  theory:  from  margin  to  center.  2000,  Cambridge,  MA:   local   community,   we   want   to   try   to   involve   as   many   different   people   as   PhD  student Design  Research:  Methods  and  Perspectives,  B.  Laurel,  Editor.  2003,   Postdoc  on  ADVANCE South  End  Press.Collins,  P.H.,  Black  Feminist  Thought.  2009,  New  York:  Routledge. MIT  Press:  Cambridge,  MA.  p.  70-­‐80. if  only  you  had  heard  this  story.    You’ve  heard  it  now.” possible.   RIFE  2009-­‐present RA  on  ADVANCE RIFE  2008-­‐present Johnson,  B.M.,  The  Paradox  of  Design  Research:  The  Role  of  Informance,  Smith,  D.E.,  The  Everyday  World  As  Problematic:  A  Feminist  Sociology.   Northeastern  Series  in  Feminist  Theory,  ed.  E.F.  Keller.  1987,  Boston:   in  Design  Research:  Methods  and  Perspectives,  B.  Laurel,  Editor.  2003,   —  Thomas  King,   Lindsey  Nelson Engineering   Marisol  Mercado   Santiago Katie  Morley Aero/Astro  Engineering Canek  Phillips,  M.S. Engineering  Education Ranjani  Rao,  M.S. Communication MIT  Press:  Cambridge,  MA.  p.  39-­‐40. Education Engineering  Education The  Truth  About  Stories:  A  Native  Narrative Northeastern  University. Undergraduate RA  on  CAREER PhD  student PhD  student PhD  student URA  on  What  is RA  on  IEECI-­‐ASKSmith,  D.E.,  Institutional  Ethnography:  A  Sociology  for  People.  Gender   Laurel,  B.,  Design  improvisation:  Ethnography  meets  theatre,  in  Design   At  University  of   RA  on  ADVANCE To  join  RIFE  Fall  2011  Engineering  to  you? RIFE  2010-­‐pres. Lens.  2005,  Lanham,  MD:  Altamira  Press. Research:  Methods  and  perspectives,  B.  Laurel,  Editor.  2003,  MIT  Press:   Sussex  2010-­‐11 RIFE  2010-­‐present RIFE  2008-­‐present Cambridge,  MA.  p.  49-­‐54.