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©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Portraying Success of URM Engineering Majors Shining Light on STEM Education Research Institute for STEM Education.

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Presentation on theme: "©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Portraying Success of URM Engineering Majors Shining Light on STEM Education Research Institute for STEM Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Portraying Success of URM Engineering Majors Shining Light on STEM Education Research Institute for STEM Education K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal The University of Oklahoma Randa L. Shehab, PI Susan E. Walden, Project Director Jeanette Davidson, Teri Jo Murphy, Teri Reed Rhoads, Deborah A. Trytten, Co- PIs Cindy E. Foor, Assistant Director DUE STEP Type II #0431642

2 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Research Goals What systemic factors contribute to the success of URM students in engineering at large, predominantly white universities? What systemic factors contribute to differential success between URM populations?

3 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Research Method Open-ended conversational interviews with URM engineering undergraduates Targeted sampling Students who self-reported: African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and Native American ethnicity Main focus on students with junior and senior standing, as sophomores have had limited interactions with college Include sophomores and heavy initial recruiting on juniors for longitudinal data collection Ensure majors with large populations of a certain ethnic group are sampled Ensure majors with isolated populations of a certain ethnic group are sampled Use multiple avenues (telephone, email, booth, visits to technical societies) to recruit volunteers Make the participation incentive worth their time Collect academic transcripts to examine course-taking patterns and possible speed-bumps Observe student groups activities Interview faculty and advisors as determined by data

4 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Interview Progress

5 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Advisory Boards National Advisory Board (June 6-8, 2006) Project update 2006-2007 data collection Impact of protocol changes recommended previous year Working Group discussions of emerging trends Identify topics to watch for in coding Board Recommendations Work to identify who you are interviewing Dont assume participant will fit a profile Interesting development: who is counted under different classifications? Limited resources necessitate choosing priorities Be strategic in intentional sampling Dont work so hard to create representative portraits – develop the texture and detail within each group Other conversations Interpreting versus reporting students narratives Theoretical frameworks Other relevant demographic distinctions (e.g. rural vs. urban community, socio-economic status) Upcoming Board meeting – July 24-26, 2007 Local Advisory Board (May 17, 2006) Recruited Student Affairs staff from our institution who work with minority students Discussed impact of ethnic & gender matching of interviewer and interviewee Board members related interactions with and observations of students in their offices Examined emerging themes from the interviews

6 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Protocol Open-ended, reflective, conversational protocol with extensive list of follow-up probes Follows chronology of students academic life Sub - Probes Personal/Individual: Institutional / Academic: FamilyMoneyTeam work Internships FriendsEmploymentProfessor / TA Research CommunityResidence Advising Technical Societies Spiritual Commuting Office Hours Cultural Brokers Cultural Transportation Cultural Classes Identity What brought you here? Early experiences Current life Reflections Reframe study goals Valuation (helps most, why, hurts most, advice)

7 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Coding Team Structure Interview transcript coding divided among four teams each specializing in one race/ethnic group. Each team has at least two members: One or more students who are members of the ethnic group, including our student interviewers One co-PI on the project Each team is assigned to: Review and summarize relevant literature Develop nodes and code interview transcripts Identify common themes and patterns in data Senior coders (co-PIs) meet frequently to report and discuss emerging themes. Senior coders will meet with local advisory board of staff and community members of the ethnic groups who are also familiar with the university and its students to discuss emerging themes.

8 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Our interests are: The struggles faced specifically by Students of color from any population, Students of color from specific populations, and The individual student of color. The strategies employed to persist beyond those struggles

9 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Findings to Date Academic Struggles and Strategies Preliminary analysis of paired academic struggles and strategies from each group 40 interview transcripts 10 each from African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, and Native American interviews Evenly divided by sex, as possible Representative sampling from majors, as possible Asian American Native American Hispanic African American Total Males576624 Females534416 Sophomore422311 Junior23038 Senior458320

10 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Framework from Protocol Examples of questions framing this analysis About academic issues Who do you go to for help? About personal expectations and sacrifices What were the first couple of months like? What price have you paid to be here? Role of race in the students lives Describe the daily experiences you have as a student of color? Does it matter if there are other students of color in your classes?

11 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma


13 Common Themes Common Struggles Interaction with Faculty Poor teachers, unable to relate to students I dont like the attitude of some of the faculty members. And just the whole thing that, especially large classes, where youre more just a number rather than student. … But when it comes to doing the actual work its so much more difficult because youre not teaching me, youre just showing me stuff. (Male African American junior) Grades or GPA Fear of failing a class, consequences of low GPA At this point its hard to even know what to make of when I get a low grade (Male Native American sophomore) … those Fs, and then you get numb like whatever. And thats the worst feeling. (Male African American senior) Curriculum and coursework Difficulty in a particular class, curriculum load, pedagogy All I ever did was went to my advising … And they said youre supposed to take this, this, this, this, and this according to the layout. And I said OK, Ill do it but not that one. That one would be too much so just put that one off… (Male Native American sophomore) Common Strategies Finding the right person May be difficult for students isolated in the classroom Well, for some of my classes I have to go out and reach out to the other races, and try to get help. … So I actually go to my neighbors sitting around me and trying to exchange numbers, try to meet up sometimes outside of class, to get help because some of the stuff Im not getting. (Male African American junior) Informal Advisor I think MEP [Multicultural Engineering Program] advisement is great because you talk to … [MEP Director] she is like you cant take this, are you crazy? (Male African American senior) Go to TA or Professor Our students of color do not feel comfortable asking professors for help and do not trust that they will receive effective support from the faculty if they do seek help. Commitment to Earning Engineering Degree Tough it out, what else can I do? I only got a few more classes to go, not much I can do, just tough it out. Its hard, but (what am I going to do)? (Male Asian American senior) Learning and Studying Strategies

14 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Differences Among Students of Color Uncommon Struggles Poor Preparation Hispanic and African American … our whole high school was like a joke. We have my AP classes and stuff, but they are not hard. … I mean, it didn't prepare me for college at all. (Female Hispanic senior) Uh, kind of like a slap in the face, because you realize how hard this stuff is and you realize youre not prepared for this kind of stuff. Youre not at the level where you can study and compete on the same level as some of these other students (Male African American junior) Isolation Hispanic, African American, Asian American …the classes where Im the only African American or where its another African American that I might not know, those are the classes that I feel intimidated in and feel less inclined to speak or ask questions. (Male African American junior) Gender Discrimination Hispanic Guys treat you, like when you have to be in groups, … like you dont know what youre talking about which drives me crazy. (Female Hispanic senior) Uncommon Strategies Personal Accommodation Strategies Asian Americans Work harder, study more, determination I didn't really know what I was doing or why I was doing it. All I knew was to hit the books, and I did that. That was it. (Male Asian American senior) Acceptance Hispanic Suggest they can work in whatever environment they experience Like I wasnt thinking during class Man, where did all the minorities go? It was just, I could, we worked, I worked with everybody at one point or another so um, it just, I dont really think about it, you know. (Male Hispanic senior) Playing the Game Asian Americans and Native Americans Having savvy about how the system works and using it to advantage; having cultural capital … it shows that youre willing to put out the effort and a lot of times, like I said, thats all that you have. And if the professor thinks that youre trying as hard as you can, theyre going to pass you. (Male Native American sophomore) African American student rely on commitment and determination

15 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Internship Experiences for Asian American Students Internships are important stepping stones to an engineering career Benefits of internships: Practice and expand professional knowledge Reinforce student identification and confidence as engineer Build professional contacts Obtain job placement

16 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Findings Participants who received an internship or undergraduate research assistantship (5) Participants who accepted an internship outside of major (1) Participants who applied, but did not receive an offer (4) Participants who did not apply (9) Participants who did not mention internships (2) Getting an internship, I am still trying to find that. I think I just have to get myself out there more or something to get an internship. I guess I dont feel confident about myself. There are some internships that I didnt sign up for because I didnt feel qualified to do them, because it lists qualifications and there are a couple that I didnt even know about.

17 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Conclusions Students who participate in technical societies get internships Students who didnt get internships used more resources in their search These students lack cultural capital [Bourdieu] They dont know how the game is played Typical of minority populations No technical society for Asian / Asian/American engineering students at OU to learn the rules of the game

18 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Current Directions Primary Data Collection ending March 2007 Small number of repeats may continue based on coding of earlier interviews Asian American Group Identify from interviews characterizations of racism and discrimination across sub-groups Will examine coping mechanisms used by Asian American students Native American Group Identified from interviews many students claiming Native American status express ambiguous identity Will examine stresses and strategies encountered in claiming Native American status within an environment that provides mixed messages about the value of cultural identity Hispanic Group Surveying participants still in school regarding acculturation Will examine struggles and strategies as a function of acculturation African American Group Examining the development of student academic identity based on messages they receive from influential members of their community Will examine perceptions and experiences of white privilege and the strategies/supports used to overcome, survive, and succeed

19 ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma References and Acknowledgements Do, B., Zhao, Y., Trytten, D.A., Lowe, A.W., ""Getting an internship? I'm still trying to find that": Asian American Student Experiences Obtaining Engineering Internships", Asia-Pacific Education Research Association Conference (2006). Shehab, R.L., Murphy, T.J., Davidson, J., Foor, C.E., Trytten, D.A., Walden, S.E., "Academic Struggles and Strategies: How Minority Students Persist", 114th American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition (2007). Research assistants: William Stephen Anderson, Tiffany Davis- Blackwood, Bach Do, Van Ha, Quintin Hughes, Walter Lewis II, Ben Lopez, Ruth Moaning, Brittany Shanel Norwood, Sedelta Oosahwee, Tracy Revis, Lauren Rieken, Johanna Rojas, Jeff Trevillion, Anna Wong Lowe, Yi Zhao. Faculty and staff advisors: Mary Anderson-Rowland, James Borgford-Parnell, David Bugg, Rosa Cintron, Francey Freeman, Tony Lee, Mayra Olivares, Paul Rocha, Kimberly Rutland, Lisa Schmidt, Larry Schuman, Elaine Seymour, and Karina Walters.

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