Exploring Students' Perspectives on the Purpose of Engineering Higher Education in the US

Abdalla, Alaa and Ashwin, Paul and Pitterson, Nicole (2022) Exploring Students' Perspectives on the Purpose of Engineering Higher Education in the US. In: 2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2022 :. Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE . IEEE, SWE. ISBN 9781665462440

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This full paper builds on the work of the first author's PhD dissertation that explores undergraduate Chemical Engineering students' perspectives on why they chose to enroll at a higher education institution in the US. The research brings together capabilities approach and engineering higher education literature in the aim of highlighting students voices. Current literature tends to discuss engineering as a profession, and the history of that profession, and less focused on the purpose of engineering as a degree in itself, which this work aims to change. Capabilities Approach framework, also referred to as the Human Development Approach is concerned with the question of what a person is able to do and be. It also provides a perspective on thinking about purpose of education in terms of instrumental, intrinsic, and social values.The paper draws on data from a larger project which is focused on the experiences of students studying Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in England, South Africa and the United States of America. We use some of the data from the Chemical Engineering students in the United States in order to explore students' perspectives on the purpose of enrolling in a higher education institution and obtaining an engineering degree. Each case is built around a higher education institution, whereas the embedded units of analysis focus on the students' narratives. The study particularly explores the phenomena from a longitudinal perspective by analyzing data from four different students from the time they enroll in those institutions to the time they graduate, summing up to a total of sixteen interviews. The paper particularly focuses on answering the following research question:RQ: What are the held perspectives of undergraduate Chemical Engineering students towards the purpose of higher education in the US?Primary results show a variety of perspectives and reasoning why students pursue an engineering degree. Conforming to societal expectations, securing a job, as well as learning and developing on personal levels all came up and will need to be further investigated. This research is set to address the problem of the neglect of the students' voices in the literature, and to address the lack of research on higher education within the engineering education space.

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?? capabilities approachchemical engineeringhigher educationqualitative case studysoftwareeducationcomputer science applications ??
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02 Feb 2023 16:35
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04 May 2024 23:32