National Academies Press: OpenBook

Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop (2014)

Chapter: APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT

« Previous: APPENDIX D: HIGHLIGHTS OF BREAKOUT SESSIONS AND THEIR PLENARY REPORTS
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×

APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT

After the workshop ASEE surveyed all attendees to follow up on workshop outcomes, gauge the utility and success of the event, and determine whether such workshops would be useful in the future and, if so, whether they could be improved. The survey was completed by 30 attendees, a response rate of about 75 percent. The survey’s findings on outcomes, satisfaction, overall workshop feedback, and recommendations for improvement are summarized in this appendix.

Summary

Overall, attendees characterized the workshop as very useful and targeting the right impediments to enhancing diversity in engineering education. They were very satisfied with the workshop speakers and the topics discussed.

Attendees also reported increased awareness, knowledge gains, and collaboration and implementation ideas in enhancing diversity as a result of the workshop.

Attendees had specific recommendations for improving future workshops by providing more time, background information, and documentation, as well as a clearer rationale for breakout group assignments; by diversifying the institutional mix at the workshop; and by securing buy-in and commitment from decision makers. In addition, there were suggestions about broadening the focus beyond ethnic diversity and addressing new topics at future workshops.

Meeting Outcomes

Table E.1. Outcomes (n=30)

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
The workshop helped me to identify root causes of impediments to enhancing ethnic diversity in engineering education and to understand their complexities and interactions. 43.3%
(13)
33.3%
(10)
16.7%
(5)
3.3%
(1)
3.3%
(1)
The workshop showcased examples of strategies and promising practices in overcoming impediments to enhancing ethnic diversity. 40.0%
(12)
53.3%
(16)
6.7%
(2)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
After this workshop, I have a better understanding of strategies for overcoming impediments to ethnic diversity in engineering education. 36.7%
(11)
50.0%
(15)
6.7%
(2)
6.7%
(2)
0.0%
(0)
Interactions and discussions with peers gave me ideas for implementing strategies relevant to my institution/region. 53.3%
(16)
36.7%
(11)
10.0%
(3)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
I expect to use the information gained from this workshop to initiate implementation plans for enhancing ethnic diversity in my institution. 33.3%
(10)
46.7%
(14)
10.0%
(3)
6.7%
(2)
3.3%
(1)
After the workshop, I plan to contact workshop peers to further discuss and share implementation strategies around enhancing ethnic diversity. 53.3%
(16)
23.3%
(7)
16.7%
(5)
6.7%
(2)
0.0%
(0)
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×

In their open-ended answers to the questions about meeting outcomes, respondents said the experience was very valuable in that it provided a unique way for universities to crystallize a plan for combatting barriers to diversity both in their institutions and collaboratively at the state level. Attendees said that they enjoyed the opportunity to network at the workshop, and some reported that they have already begun communication and collaboration with other workshop attendees and peers from their state. Others said they became aware of best practices for enhancing diversity in engineering education.

The very few people who reported less favorably on tangible outcomes noted that it’s hard to achieve major outcomes and impact from a single workshop, and that, although people may know what to do, they may not be able to implement it because of lack of resources, institutional resistance, or other factors.

Overall Meeting Feedback

Table E.2. Overall meeting feedback (n=30)

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
The content presented and discussed was informative and relevant to challenges for enhancing ethnic diversity. 63.3%
(19)
36.7%
(11)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
The presenters/attendees were adequately selected. 60.0%
(18)
30.0%
(9)
6.7%
(2)
3.3%
(1)
0.0%
(0)
The workshop enhanced my knowledge. 53.3%
(16)
36.7%
(11)
6.7%
(2)
3.3%
(1)
0.0%
(0)
The workshop was well organized. 76.7%
(23)
16.7%
(5)
6.7%
(2)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
The workshop format encouraged interaction, discussion, and learning. 76.7%
(23)
20.0%
(6)
3.3%
(1)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)

In their open-ended comments in the overall meeting feedback section, respondents highlighted the workshop speakers in particular as excellent.

Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×

Workshop Satisfaction

Table E.3. Satisfaction (n=30)

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
Overall quality of the workshop and the experience 70.0%
(21)
20.0%
(6)
10.0%
(3)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Attendees’ assignments to breakout sessions 36.7%
(11)
50.0%
(15)
13.3%
(4)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Quality of breakout session discussions 40.0%
(12)
43.3%
(13)
6.7%
(2)
10.0%
(3)
0.0%
(0)
Quality of speakers/presenters 80.0%
(24)
20.0%
(6)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Networking and knowledge sharing opportunities 70.0%
(21)
26.7%
(8)
3.3%
(1)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Meeting materials 33.3%
(10)
46.7%
(14)
16.7%
(5)
3.3%
(1)
0.0%
(0)
Pace and time management 43.3%
(13)
50.0%
(15)
6.7%
(2)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Outreach and communication about the event 53.3%
(16)
43.3%
(13)
3.3%
(1)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Meeting facilities 76.7%
(23)
23.3%
(7)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
Location 73.3%
(22)
26.7%
(8)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)
0.0%
(0)

In their open-ended comments on satisfaction rankings in Table 3, respondents reiterated their high level of satisfaction with the speakers and presenters overall, highlighting the plenary speakers as the best. Related to meeting materials, an attendee suggested that a summary of all known best practices in increasing diversity in higher education be provided to meeting attendees to inform and structure discussions around identifying barriers to implementing these practices.

The only meeting component that generated a slight variation in satisfaction levels was the quality of breakout sessions. Respondents reported that the second-day sessions, which grouped attendees by region, were more effective as they allowed group members to address familiar statewide barriers to diversity. Conversely, the rationale for the composition of breakouts on the first day of the meeting was not clear to attendees, and the more unstructured format made potential takeaways more challenging and harder to grasp.

Workshop attendees were also asked an open-ended question on what they found most helpful about the meeting. Numerous attendees said that the speakers and presentations were outstanding, inspiring and educational. Karan Watson’s talk was cited as particularly helpful since it focused on institutional-level actions to make change happen. Furthermore, many agreed that the workshop attendees were very motivated and diverse group of engineering professionals that, together with great speakers, articulated issues around diversity in engineering education particularly well.

Other workshop features that people valued were networking, knowledge sharing, small-group discussions on specific issues, and the opportunity to share and hear about effective strategies and lessons learned. Some of the most helpful information focused on linkages between two- and four-year engineering programs. And the presentation on Wright State’s early engineering math model was also useful. Several attendees also found the plenaries, the breakout sessions, and the reporting time to be helpful.

Suggestions

Numerous respondents firmly stated that it would be useful to hold diversity workshops regularly because they are motivating. Attendees felt that there is a sense of urgency around the issues surrounding diversity, and so annual meetings with follow-ups on the actions taken as a result of the workshop, presentation of accomplishments, and progress reports may be a good idea. Some suggested expanding the focus of the workshop to address diversity of engineering faculty. Others suggested separate targeted workshops based on the results and recommendations of this broader workshop, to focus on different aspects of the pipeline and on different types of institutions and the different issues they face; for instance, there could be separate workshops on recruiting minorities into STEM fields, on the success of minorities in STEM fields, on math preparation of minorities, etc.

Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×

Those who were more hesitant about the need for and effectiveness of future meetings noted that although workshops raise the visibility of problems around diversity, the issue is much broader than just racial differences. Furthermore, without a commitment from the highest authorities to address the diversity impediments head on, the chance of making an impact is lessened.

Improvements

Workshop attendees were asked to provide suggestions and recommendations on how future diversity workshops could be improved. Many urged providing more time at each session and making the workshop longer, especially so that attendees have more time to strategize about how to apply the new information in practice.

Several comments addressed the purpose of the workshop. One recommendation for future meetings was to provide at the very beginning of the first day a summary of known best practices, a clear objective for the workshop, a more defined charge and trajectory to the groups, and clarification on the anticipated output of the workshop (e.g., report, policy outcomes). Those things did take shape and emerge on the second day of the workshop, but it would have been more effective to start with them at the beginning.

A number of people would improve the breakout sessions, which they noted did not always match some of the underlying and most difficult to address challenges to diversity that surfaced through the pre-workshop brainstorm survey. In that sense, some attendees felt that there was a disconnect between the pre-workshop survey and its findings, and the breakout sessions at the workshop. Sometimes, the breakout session discussions were too long, less focused on the workshop’s biggest question, and poorly led or facilitated, which made it harder to synthesize and derive meaning, lessons, or action plans. Furthermore, some thought that the breakout sessions on local practices focused too much on anecdotes and storytelling at the expense of hard evidence and tangible impact. Discussions and presentations showcased local programs’ summaries and success stories while ignoring challenges they had encountered and important impediments to diversity such as weaknesses in faculty culture, teaching, student peer and campus environments, budgets, etc. that need to be addressed. That all relates to the actual objective of the workshop. If the objective is to share information about existing programs and interventions, that could be done effectively in a workshop format or through other means of information exchange and knowledge sharing. However, if the objective is to get to the root cause of impediments to diversity and strategies to overcome them, the workshop agenda, sessions, and discussions should address that. Ultimately, focusing on practical solutions and providing action plans, especially at the regional group level, would be most effective.

Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×

Many respondents felt that any workshops need to diversify the institutional mix, including more attendees and viewpoints from smaller, private, and urban institutions and community colleges, which are currently not well represented in the discussion about diversity in engineering education. The needs of students in different types of institutions and in different geographical regions are different and need to be specifically attended to and addressed separately. In addition, there is a need for examples of partnerships between community colleges and universities, stressing diversity in recruitment and retention efforts.

One important insight was that there were two different issues in the room that need very different solutions: getting more minorities into selective universities, and getting more graduates out of less selective institutions, which is where the numbers of minorities are the largest. Respondents observed that these are completely different issues and they kept getting conflated, usually from the point of view of the selective institutions. Furthermore, it appears that at the workshop there were some implicit assumptions about the challenge to inclusion being at the feed side of the STEM pipeline, which takes focus away from academic institutions themselves. Colleges and universities should consider why they are not doing better in retaining minority students who are on paper just as capable as their majority counterparts, why they are not recruiting these students into graduate school, and finally why are they not adding minority PhD to their faculties.

Another important insight was that the diversity strategies emerging from the workshop discussions would require buy-in and action from decision makers and administrators. For workshop attendees who are not in that position, or don’t have leverage over decision makers and administrators, implementing plans is not an immediate possibility. There was less at the workshop about how to work with faculty and staff who work with students on a day-to-day basis. Workshops on diversity need to engage decision makers (e.g., deans, provosts) and administrators so they can buy into the implementation—and funding—of solutions.

Last, it was observed that some attendees seemed more driven and dedicated than others. Factors such as institutional resistance and motivation for increased diversity should be considered when targeting workshop attendees in order to optimize outcomes.

Additional Topics

For future workshops on diversity, attendees suggested topics that were not addressed at this meeting. According to many, this workshop was rightly focused on ethnic diversity as one of the most pressing issues about engineering education. They also felt that it would be greatly beneficial to broaden the focus to other forms of diversity (e.g., gender, disability, sexual orientation and identity) and to spend an equal amount of time on devising strategies for overcoming diversity impediments for those underrepresented groups as well. One respondent commented that we are further behind in dialogue about some of the underrepresented groups in engineering, yet more and more diverse students and faculty want to be more visible and valued.

Additional topics suggested for future workshops included a focus on faculty and student culture, conceptions of intelligence, teaching approaches, and alternative models of funding that look beyond state and federal funds. One person thought that identifying quantitative assessment tools to determine the impact, if any, of interventions on diversity is still a challenge and therefore should be addressed at a workshop. Another suggestion was to examine the well-being of existing faculty of color and to determine the threats to their advancement and potential to be change agents at their institutions.

Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×
Page 42
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×
Page 43
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX E: POST-WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT." National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18847.
×
Page 46
Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education: Summary of a Workshop Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $35.00 Buy Ebook | $27.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Surmounting the Barriers: Ethnic Diversity in Engineering Education is the summary of a workshop held in September 2013 to take a fresh look at the impediments to greater diversification in engineering education. The workshop brought together educators in engineering from two- and four-year colleges and staff members from the three sponsoring organizations: the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Society for Engineering Education.

While the goal of diversifying engineering education has long been recognized, studied, and subjected to attempted interventions, progress has been fitful and slow. This report discusses reasons why past recommendations to improve diversity had not been adopted in full or in part. Surmounting the Barriers identifies a series of key impediments, including a lack of incentives for faculty and institutions; inadequate or only short-term financial support; an unsupportive institutional and faculty culture and environment; a lack of institutional and constituent engagement; and inadequate assessments, metrics, and data tracking. The report also shares success stories about instances where barriers to diversity have been identified and surmounted, and the resources that could enable real solutions to implement steps toward progress.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!