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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.2013006617
pages 349-363

ENTERING FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS' OPENNESS TO DIVERSITY: A COMPARISON OF INTENDED ENGINEERING MAJORS WITH OTHER MAJORS WITHIN AN ETHNICALLY DIVERSE INSTITUTION

Marsha Ing
Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California 92521, USA
Nida Denson
University of California, Los Angeles; School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia

RÉSUMÉ

The lack of diversity within engineering is well documented. While increasing the proportional representation of engineers is a great concern, of equal concern is preparing future engineers who have the skills to engage effectively with an increasingly diverse society. Monitoring engineering students' ability to see the world from another's perspective and ability to work cooperatively are a few of the necessary skills they will need to function effectively in a diverse society. The purpose of this study is to determine how much variation in perceptions of diversity exists between engineering majors compared to other majors and to assess whether perceptions vary over time after controlling for student demographic and pre-college experiences. This study uses three years of survey responses from an ethnically diverse institution to assess freshman perceptions of diversity. Ordinary least squares regression provides additional information about the relationship between demographic characteristics, pre-college experiences, intended major, and perceptions of diversity. Findings suggest differences in perceptions of diversity for some but not all years. Pre-college experiences with diversity such as the ethnic composition of the neighborhood are less predictive of current perceptions of diversity after controlling for student demographic characteristics and pre-college experiences. Within an institution with great ethnic diversity, engineering majors vary from other majors in their perceptions of diversity. While the concern about creating more ethnic diversity in the student body persists, there is also a need to ensure that engineering majors' attitudes toward diversity remain open and positive.


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