S6-CT6-5 - Engineering Faculty’s Mindset and The Impact on Instructional Practices

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Fredericka Brown1 , Kelly Cross2
1 The University of Texas at Tyler
2 University of Nevada, Reno

This innovative practice work-in-progress presents instructional practice through the lens of faculty mindset. The importance of investigating novel and effective approaches to recruit, retain, and graduate students in undergraduate engineering programs from a more diverse range of cultural backgrounds is becoming a focus for researchers in the field of engineering education.  A key area of investigation of retention strategies is promoting change in instructional practices used in the engineering classroom [1].  Moreover, many factors influence engineering faculty’s instructional practices and in turn affect retention and matriculation of students in engineering.  Effective change strategies of engineering faculty instructional practice are tied to the belief of the individual faculty [2], [3].  While substantial research studies address the strong connection between faculty’s instructional practices and the effects on student achievement, less research focuses on how faculty’s mindset drives instructional practices and this study aims to fill this gap. 

Dweck’s mindset theory guided this exploratory study to evaluate the relationship between engineering faculty’s mindset and their instructional practice.  The study was conducted at a Carnegie classified Doctoral/Professional University within a College of Engineering.  The measurement scales of the survey included the following:  1) mindset of engineering faculty [4] and 2) instructional practice [5].  Each scale included Likert type questions with items rated on a 6-point scale that ranged from strongly agree (1) to strongly disagree (6).  The survey instrument concluded with open-ended responses to indicate the participant’s willingness to be interviewed and demographic information. 

 Specifically, in this paper we examined the relationship between engineering faculty’s mindset and instructional practice.  Based on the small study, data trends emerged across the mindset spectrum of faculty from a fixed to a growth mindset and how this influenced their instructional design choices.  This study establishes ground work for best practices that other institutions can adopt to improve engineering student retention and success through the lens of the mindset of engineering faculty