Advisor Perspectives on Diversity in Student Design Competition Teams

Engineering competition teams provide some students the opportunity to design authentic engineering artifacts, manage budgets and logistics, exercise engineering analysis and decision making, build an engineering artifact and develop and practice professional skills. In a research study examining the cultures, structures, compositions, and processes of a variety of Student Experiential Learning Engineering Competition Teams (SELECT), we collected data from teams from multiple institutions and a variety of design competitions. The qualitative data from 34 teams consists of interviews of team members and/or advisors, team documents, and other public artifacts.

Previous papers have examined the team cultures, specifically which aspects contribute to their generally exclusive and exclusionary compositions and cultures from the student team members’ perspective. Sixteen advisor interviews offer a different perspective of the evolution of team cultures and any limited attempts to address those cultures or demographic homogeneity.

Explaining and rectifying the lack of diversity in teams requires attention to the processes that produce and perpetuate it. Via analysis of thematic coding, we will describe the advisors’ views for why teams lack diversity, and what, if anything, they think can or should be done about it.

Link to Paper

Walden, S. E., C. Foor, R. Pan, R. L. Shehab and D. A. Trytten (2016). Advisor Perspectives on Diversity in Student Design Competition Teams. Proceedings of 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, LA, American Society for Engineering Education.

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