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

ISSN Imprimer: 1072-8325
ISSN En ligne: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v16.i4.20
pages 293-317

CLIMATE FOR RETENTION TO GRADUATION: A MIXED METHODS INVESTIGATION OF STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF ENGINEERING DEPARTMENTS AND PROGRAMS

Hesborn O. Wao
Comparative Effectiveness Research, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, 3515 East Fletcher Avenue, MDT1200 Tampa, Florida 33612
Reginald S. Lee
David C. Anchin Center, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33620
Kathryn M. Borman
Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology, Department of An thropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, 33620, USA

RÉSUMÉ

This mixed methods investigation, part of a larger study examining student participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, reports findings on departmental climates that enhance retention to completion of engineering degrees for women and underrepresented minorities. Quantitative analysis of student surveys conducted in the fall of 2007 at four selected Florida engineering programs revealed that faculty support, personal agency and peer support, and perception of social and academic fit were associated with student retention to completion; however, no statistically significant gender or racial differences were found. The rwg statistic, which captures agreement among students within departments and programs, indicated that sufficient homogeneity existed that justified aggregation of data. Analyses of interviews and focus groups data showed that women and underrep- resented minorities were not treated differently, nonetheless they experienced department climate differently from their majority peers. Our findings suggest that sexism and racism are subtle and students experiencing them are often unable to articulate it. This study illustrates the use of a mixed methods approach in examining the complex issue of gender and race in the context of climate for retention to graduation in engineering.


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