F5-CT2-1 - Impactful for Whom? Exploring the Diversity of Learning Pathways Outside of the Classroom for Engineering Students

Panels / Special Sessions
Denise R. Simmons1 , Madeline Polmear1, Susan M. Lord2
1 University of Florida
2 University of San Diego

Goals: By the end of the special session, attendees should be able to
-Define what is meant by high impact out-of-class activities in engineering education
-Describe outcomes associated with various out-of-class activities
-Identify impactful out-of-class activities disaggregated by student demographics including gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, and LGBTQ
-Summarize findings on the frequency and level of involvement of out-of-class activities for engineering students
-Develop strategies for advising engineering students on the benefits of out-of-class activities and opportunities to pursue them

Anticipated audience:
This session is expected to be valuable for any FIE attendee. Educators who advise and mentor engineering students can benefit from understanding impactful out-of-class activities for different groups of students and how to mentor students accordingly. Individuals interested in co-curricular engagement, diversity, and broadening participation will also find this session relevant. 

Novelty of the proposed session: 
Although involvement and impact regarding out-of-class engagement in college have been studied, past research has primarily focused on the perspectives and experiences of White males. As a result, the findings might not be salient for non-majority students in engineering. This session leverages an ongoing National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded CAREER project exploring out-of-class activities with a focus on the outcomes, incentives, and barriers for underrepresented students. This research adds to our understanding of impact and engagement for students disaggregated by gender and race/ethnicity. Out-of-class experience is not one size fits all, and for educators to effectively advise their students and mentor co-curricular activities, it is important to understand the differential impact of activities and how to support students in learning outside of the classroom. 

Interaction during the session:
The session is designed to be interactive to generate dialogue around out-of-class engagement through the lens of diversity and broadening participation. The session will provide an opportunity for attendees to challenge their own perceptions of impactful activities. The session will include individual reflection, small group conversation, and large group discussion to foster a comfortable environment for attendees from various backgrounds. All three of the facilitators have experience developing workshops and interactive sessions.

Session overview:
This session aims to go beyond exploring high impact out-of-class activities to challenge attendees to consider “high impact for whom?” Attendees will engage in hands-on activities and facilitated discussions. 

Session agenda:
5 min: Session agenda and goals 
5 min: Facilitator and participant introductions 
5 min: Brief overview of the NSF CAREER project to introduce our research and establish a common understanding of out-of-class activities 
15 min: What are the most impactful out-of-class activities for engineering students? Activity: (think-pair-share) Using a handout, rate the impact of various out-of-class activities on engineering students’ professional development.
10 min: Discussion: Share stories of “surprising” impactful activities from our research and invite attendees to share their own
15 min: How does the impact of activities vary by student demographics? Activity: (think-pair-share) Using a handout, rate the impact of various out-of-class activities by demographic comparing male/female and race/ethnicity majority/minority. This activity is connected to our published research results on disaggregating data by gender and race/ethnicity. 
10 min: Discussion: Explore stories of impactful activities for other underrepresented groups including students with disabilities and LGBTQ students
10 min: How do we translate these findings into advising strategies? Activity: Brainstorm actionable strategies for advising engineering students 
5 min: Discussion: How do we integrate these findings into a framework for involvement of underrepresented students in engineering? Re-examining the Input-Environment-Output model through the lens of diversity.
5 min: Conclusions, questions, and acknowledgements 

Expected outcomes and future work:
The expected outcomes of the session are a nuanced understanding of out-of-class engagement and impactful activities for non-majority students and a contribution to the ongoing conversation of broadening participation in engineering through involvement. This session aims to be a starting point for discussion with the engineering education community including soliciting input on integrating our research findings into an expanded or revised Input-Environment-Output model as a framework for exploring out-of-class involvement for underrepresented engineering students. We will also provide a handout that distills our research findings including learning pathways and key results.