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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Druckformat: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2015011064
pages 323-346

RETHINKING RACE IN STUDENT-FACULTY INTERACTIONS AND MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS WITH UNDERGRADUATE AFRICAN AMERICAN ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJORS

Christopher B. Newman
University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110, USA

ABSTRAKT

The purpose of this article is to explore the role of race in the interactions of undergraduate African American engineering and computer science majors with faculty members from a variety of racial backgrounds. Through an embedded multiple-case-study design, 37 African American college students were interviewed at two predominantly white public research universities. A pattern matching analytical technique led to three key findings: expectations of same-race faculty members, negative interactions with white faculty members, and race is not a barrier for faculty-student interactions outside the classroom. Findings suggest students desire more interactions with same-race faculty members in engineering and computer science. A small, but important faction of participants described negative interactions with a white faculty member and the serious potential impact of this experience. In the absence of a critical mass of African American faculty, a number of participants described positive interactions with faculty from similar and different racial backgrounds. African American, white, and Asian faculty members were identified as initiating contact with study participants and demonstrated a student-centered focus on the academic success of participants and their overall well-being. This paper concludes with a discussion and implications for policy, practice, and future research.