Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dr. Trytten Begins New NSF "SELECT" Project

Dr. Deborah Trytten
Title: The Privilege of Student, Experiential Learning, Engineering Competition Teams (SELECT)
Agency: National Science Foundation
Start Date: Sept 15, 2011
End Date: August 31, 2015

Layman Abstract:
Student, Experiential Learning, Engineering Competition Teams (SELECT) are displayed as the hallmark of engineering programs and are commonly featured in materials shared with prospective students and donors. SELECT provide an opportunity for engineering students to practice engineering technical and professional skills while engaged in competitive, experiential learning, design/build projects. In spite of efforts to increase participation of under-represented populations (URP) in engineering programs, participation rates of URP students in many competition teams are exceptionally low, even when normalized for engineering enrollment. The research literature investigating student competition teams includes only a few papers founded on a research design including a research question, data collection and structured analysis, with only one investigating URP participation from a gender perspective, and none exploring other dimensions of diversity. This paucity is in stark contrast to the wealth of well-structured research examinations of curricular-based team work, although considerations of race/ethnicity and gender are generally absent here as well. The Research Institute for STEM Education will build on a history of qualitative research, supplemented with quantitative data, identifying factors contributing to equity and broadening participation in engineering by addressing the research question: What factors contribute to cultures of inclusion or exclusion within Student, Experiential Learning, Engineering Competition Teams (SELECT)?

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