S9-S&SI4-3 - Educating Civic-Minded Engineers: A Qualitative Study of First-Year Engineering Students

3. Research Work In Progress
Athena Lin1 , Justin L. Hess1
1 Purdue University

This Work-in-Progress Research paper introduces a qualitative study about engineering students’ perceptions and experiences with civic engagement. This study extends the scholarship on civic engagement in higher education into a context that has received relatively little attention: the engineering profession. As professionals, engineers have a responsibility to serve public welfare and community interests. Engineers can contribute their skills to serve community needs and improve the livelihoods of community members. Postsecondary engineering education provides a valuable opportunity to help students develop an appreciation for the civic aspects of the profession. As a result, it is important to understand how engineering programs influence students’ civic-minded dispositions. Using a social cognitive approach, this study seeks to understand how civic mindedness manifests in engineering students’ pre-curricular, curricular, and co-curricular experiences and how these experiences shape their perceptions of civics within the engineering profession. This paper outlines the theoretical approach and research design of this study, including data collection methods and validity considerations. The paper concludes with a summary of future work.