"University-Elementary School Partnerships: Analyzing the Impact of a Service-Learning Freshman Engineering Course on Students' Engineering Values and Competence Beliefs"
Jasmine McBeath Nation, Ph.D., has published with colleagues in the International Journal of Engineering Education: "University-Elementary School Partnerships: Analyzing the Impact of a Service-Learning Freshman Engineering Course on Students' Engineering Values and Competence Beliefs." Nation is a postdoctoral scholar in the School of Education, working with Associate Professor Hosun Kang on the NSF Career Project called Expanding Latinx Students' Opportunities to Develop Complex Thinking in Secondary Science Classrooms through a Research-Practice Partnership.
There is a growing demand in the US for more engineers, yet attrition rates from university engineering programs are high and diversity in engineering is low. Few resources have been dedicated to the improvement of freshman engineering courses even though freshman students have the highest rates of attrition. Through a synthesis of the literature on inclusive instructional strategies and participant structures in educational settings, we developed, implemented, and researched a freshman mechanical engineering design course that incorporated elements of project-based learning, collaboration, service-learning, and customer-oriented design through a partnership with a local elementary school. Our research was grounded in the value and competence belief constructs defined by expectancy-value theory. Engineering values include enjoying engineering tasks, viewing engineering as useful, and identifying as an engineer and engineering competence beliefs encompass beliefs in one's engineering abilities in the present, as well expectancies for success in the future. Rich qualitative data collected from 72 undergraduate participants suggested that this course was both highly valued and helpful for increasing engineering competence beliefs. Further, these positive impacts were consistent across gender. From our results, we provide recommendations for strategies to help grow and diversify engineering.
Mclean, M., Nation, J. M., Susko, T., Harlow, D., & Bianchini, J. A. (2019). University-elementary school partnerships: Analyzing the impact of a service-learning freshman engineering course on students' engineering values and competence beliefs. International Journal of Engineering Education, 35(5), 1415-1424.