CAREER: Learning from Small Numbers: Using personal narratives by underrepresented undergraduate students to promote institutional change in engineering
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. firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 . 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 (CLEERhub.org), Engineering Pathway (engineeringpathway.org), and the CIRTL Network (cirtl.net).managerial, 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.