2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

Exploring Faculty Perceptions of Students' Characteristics at Hispanic-serving Institutions

Presented at Track: Faculty - Technical Session I

Keywords: Undergraduate, Faculty, Race/Ethnicity, Engineering

The creation of a diverse STEM workforce has been the target of multiple initiatives that seek to broaden participation of underrepresented minorities. Hispanic/Latinx students represent a small fraction of undergraduate engineering students, and more than half obtain their undergraduate degrees from Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Focusing efforts at these institutions has the potential to significantly increase representation of the Hispanic/Latinx population in engineering.

This study is part of a broader effort to identify needs and successes at existing HSIs by actively engaging with engineering educators through the use of design thinking methodologies. This paper aims to further the understanding of how educators at HSIs perceive their undergraduate students, with the following guiding research question: How do educators at HSIs describe their student’s characteristics, including assets, needs, and opportunities that could be used to amplify current efforts at HSIs?

Thirty-six engineering educators from 12 HSIs in FL, TX, NM, and AZ attended one of two workshops in the spring of 2018. Participants engaged in individual and group written activities that helped them reflect on their students to actively design an activity for a course they currently teach, with the help of information previously gathered through interviews with students. Qualitative analysis of the data across the thirty-six educators at both workshops will identify any region or institution-specific characteristics of Hispanic/Latinx engineering students. The overall findings are expected to provide a set of unique characteristics of students at HSIs that can serve as the foundation for future research and future educational efforts to increase the representation of Hispanic/Latinx students in engineering.

  1. Dr. Meagan R. Kendall University of Texas, El Paso [biography]
  2. Dr. Ines Basalo University of Miami [biography]
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