Every year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) invests considerable resources to fund research projects geared towards advancing our understanding of issues related to broadening participation in engineering (BPE). Despite years of investments in fundamental research, the status quo has not sufficiently changed. While we acknowledge that various factors influence the lack of desired change in this area, we also feel that now is a good time to reflect on what we know about ways to address this multifaceted issue from a research perspective. As part of engaging the broader engineering education community, the purpose of this session is to discuss the role—both current and potential—of education research in broadening participation in engineering and computer science. More specifically, we will explore the desired impact of BPE research. According to London (2018), there are three types of research impact: (1) scientific, (2) contextual, and (3) societal. Though the scientific impact of scholarship focused on BPE is apparent (e.g., publications, conference papers, etc.), the contextual and societal impact of this work is not as evident.
Participating in this discussion will help ASEE members situate themselves in the larger context of research and practice as it relates to BPE. It is our hope that following this conversation, participants will have a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between research and practice in this context. This session is geared towards both consumers and producers of BPE knowledge, exploring what types of research is needed as well as what sorts of impact should be expected. No prior knowledge is required, but participants who intend for their work to inform BPE efforts or engage in BPE efforts themselves will benefit most. The insights from the group discussion will be documented, analyzed and summarized after ASEE, disseminated to interested participants, and published as a future conference paper or journal article.
London, J. (2018). A Content Analysis of How STEM Education Researchers Discuss the Impact of their Publicly-Supported Research, International Journal of Engineering Education, 34(3), 1120-1137.
For those interested in: Advocacy and Policy, Broadening Participation in Engineering and Engineering Technology, and New Members
Dr. Walter Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the assistant director for research in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-curricular support, student success and retention, and diversity. Lee received his Ph.D. in engineering education from Virginia Tech, his M.S. in industrial & systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University
Dr. Jeremi London is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education Department at Virginia Tech. London is a mixed methods researcher with interests in research impact, broadening participation, and instructional change in engineering education. Prior to being a faculty member, London worked at the National Science Foundation, GE Healthcare, and Anheuser-Busch. She earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.
Teirra Holloman is a doctoral student in engineering education at Virginia Tech, where she serves as a graduate research assistant. She is concurrently pursuing a MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech with a focus in Management Systems. Teirra received her BS in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. Her research interests revolve around broadening participation in engineering, experiential learning, and workforce development.
Crystal Pee is a graduate student at Virginia Tech pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education. She currently is a graduate research assistant under the direction of Dr. Jeremi London. Her research interests include broadening participation in industry. Prior to attending Virginia Tech, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Business Administration from Clemson University.
Dr. Bevlee Watford is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. She previously served as President of the American Society of Engineering Education. Her professional interests are focused on ensuring that all students who desire an engineering degree are successful. She is particularly interested in helping under-represented students achieve their educational and professional goals, whether these goals are in engineering or any other field.
Dr. Chanee Hawkins Ash is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Chanee is also the co-founder and principal consultant of Foresight Strategy Solutions, a P-12 and Higher Education consultancy, as well as an independent researcher with San Francisco based strategy and innovation consultancy Entangled Solutions. Her work is focused on supporting schools, districts, administrators, educators and policy makers in dismantling systemic barriers to education and social mobility. Chanee holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Truman State University (Kirksville, MO) and received her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.