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Racism, Engineering Education, Sexism


Background Minorities in engineering regularly experience negative statements or behaviors of others that disparage them due to their gender, race, ethnicity, or other identity. Students from engineering have cited these persistent subtle negative statements and behaviors, or microaggressions, as reasons for considering leaving engineering programs or the university entirely. Previous measures of microaggressions have not been designed to capture the unique experiences of minorities within the engineering environment.
Purpose This research differs from previous work because it incorporates an intersectional perspective by acknowledging microaggressions are not experienced universally for individuals within all groups or institutions (Crenshaw et al. 1993; Wilkins 2012). In the context of a predominantly white institution (PWI) and a historically black college/university (HBCU), the experiences of gender and racial minorities in engineering departments were asked to share their experiences to identify overarching themes in microaggressive language and actions. The research strives to answer, “How do gender and race microaggressions affect student success and persistence in engineering programs?”
Brief Research Methodology and Approach The preliminary scale used a three phased approach to scaled design to nest the novel scale in the existing literature, previous scales, and from interviews with minority engineering undergraduate students. The current paper presents a preliminary Engineering Gender and Racial Microaggression Scale (EGRMS) to measure microaggressions within the engineering environment.
Preliminary Results This research expands knowledge on intersectional microaggression experiences of engineering students. The overarching goal is to address the needs of multiple identity groups including the dominant white male student, female students, and students of color.






South Dakota State University


© American Society for Engineering Education, 2020. Posted with permission


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