Understanding Diverse Pathways: Disciplinary Trajectories of Engineering Students: Year 3- NSF REE Grant 1129383
2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings
This project focuses on examining the research question "How do the trajectories of engineering students in different engineering disciplines vary by both race and gender?" Trajectories are measured at matriculation, four years later, and six-years later (i.e. graduation) for matriculants to the disciplines as well as all students in the major including first time in college (FTIC) and transfers. The impact of first year engineering (FYE) programs is also considered. We focus on the large
... on the large fields of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering, that have few women and the smaller fields of chemical, biomedical, and industrial engineering that attract more women. In the supplement approved in 2013, we extended this work to also include Civil Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. From Paper accepted by International Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education "Student Demographics and Outcomes in Mechanical Engineering" Using a dataset from universities in the U.S. that includes over 90,000 first time in college and over 26,000 transfer students who majored in engineering, this work describes the demographics and outcomes for students starting in and transferring into Mechanical Engineering (ME). This aims to inform the decision making of faculty, department heads, and Deans. Although men consistently outnumber women in ME, the rates of matriculation and six-year graduation vary by race and gender. Retention is higher in ME than in the aggregate of all engineering majors for Asian, White, and Black students, but not for Hispanic students. While about half of ME starters leave, most are replaced by switchers and transfers. Black males are noticeably absent from this "replacement" population. Black males are also the least likely to stick with ME through graduation. Asian females are the most likely to graduate in ME. Pathways of ME starters and ME graduates are illustrated. Nearly half of all ME graduates started somewhere other than ME. Key outcomes This research has involved considerable work in developing effective data displays. As a result, an additional outcome of this project is a new course, ME 497/597 Visualizing Data, developed and taught by Dr. Richard Layton at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. The course is about the principles and practices of designing truthful and compelling visual displays of quantitative data. This work involves principles of rhetoric, human perception, graphic design, data analysis, and computer programming. The course goals are that after taking this course, students will be able to: Critique a data display, citing principles of rhetoric, human perception, or graphic design. Design effective and truthful data displays and explain their design rationale. Demonstrate programming competence by producing publication quality visuals.