skip to main content


Title: Factors that influence Native Americans’ interests and aspirations for engineering faculty positions
Native American faculty are critical to attracting Native American students into the engineering profession. We are investigating factors related to Native Americans’ pursuit of engineering and the engineering faculty. In a sample of student participants, we have found that initiative, resiliency, leadership, and proactivity are key. Interests in this career path are related to efficacy (confidence) for addressing engineering problems, access to information regarding engineering careers, academic success, encouragement from others, and beliefs about the meaningfulness, value, and usefulness of pursuing engineering and the engineering professorate. In a sample of faculty members, enthusiasm for investigating questions of interest in their engineering fields, and solving problems experienced in their tribal communities, sustain their interest. The love of teaching and mentoring students are also very important. Audience members will be invited to participate and to provide insights about how Native Americans are inspired to study engineering and become engineering faculty.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1743329
NSF-PAR ID:
10110966
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University, and New York University created the Project Equity-focused Launch to Empower and Value AGEP Faculty to Thrive in Engineering (ELEVATE) Alliance (National Science Foundation Awards #2149995, #2149798 #2149899 from the Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM in the Directorate for STEM Education) to develop a model to promote the equitable advancement of early career tenure-track engineering faculty from populations of interest to the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. The goal of this AGEP Faculty Career Pathways Alliance Model (FCPAM) is to develop, implement, self-study, and institutionalize a career pathway model that can be adapted for use at other similar institutions for advancing early career engineering faculty who are: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. This NSF AGEP FCPAM will provide a framework for institutional change at private, highly selective research institutions that will enable all faculty to be members of a collaborative community. Improving the experience of these faculty can lead to increased diversity in the engineering faculty and ultimately result in graduating more engineering students from diverse populations and increasing diversity in the engineering workforce. The Alliance interventions will focus on three major areas, 1) equity-focused institutional change designed to make structural changes that support the advancement of AGEP faculty, 2) identity-affirming mentorship that acknowledges and provides professional support to AGEP faculty holistically, recognizing all parts of their identity and 3) inclusive professional development that equips all engineering faculty and institutional leaders with skills to implement inclusive practices and equips AGEP faculty for career advancement. In this paper, we will discuss the process of creating a leadership team to address these focus areas and assess the processes and procedures that currently exist at the three institutions as we begin to institutionalize these change efforts. We provide an overview of the project and efforts to date. We will also present our process for engaging in our initial self-study evaluation and next steps. 
    more » « less
  2. Native Americans account for only 0.2% (N=68) of engineering faculty, while Native American students are underrepresented in both undergraduate (0.6%; N=1853) and graduate (0.1%; N=173) engineering programs. Advising and mentorship from faculty members who identify as Native American are important components to support programs for Native American students in STEM fields. However, little is known about the experiences and career decisions of Native American engineering faculty. Our exploratory study aims to identify the contextual and individual factors and the linkages in this small population that influence their entry and persistence as engineering faculty. Data is from four initial faculty interviews. 
    more » « less
  3. Despite efforts over the past few decades to promote diversity and foster inclusive campus climates, there is still underrepresentation of Blacks/ African Americans, Latinx/Hispanics, and Native Americans (including Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives) within the STEM professoriate nationwide. For students who are members of these groups, the culturally isolating experience this deficit creates can weaken one's academic self-perception, and hinder performance in STEM disciplines. This paper explores the relationship between intentionality towards diversity and inclusion in faculty job postings and corresponding faculty demographics at a variety of US postsecondary institutions. The research questions we are investigating are: •In what ways are diversity and inclusion implicitly and explicitly addressed in the evaluated job postings? •Does intentionality towards diversity and inclusion in job postings vary based on the type of position advertised (i.e., tenured/tenure track versus non-tenure-track) or institution type (i.e., Basic Carnegie Classification)? Using HigherEdJobs.com, we conducted an advanced search of all open science and engineering faculty positions containing the keywords "data science", "data engineering", "data analysis", or "data analytics." Each result posted in September 2019 that advertised a full-time tenured/tenure-track or non-tenure track faculty appointment for at least one academic year at a US college or university was recorded. All qualifying job postings were qualitatively analyzed for active, intentional recruitment of URM candidates. Intentionality towards diversity and inclusion varied significantly across job postings. While some had no reference to diversity beyond a required one-sentence equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement, others explicitly addressed inclusion within the announcements, and still others required a standalone diversity statement as part of a complete application. The results will help to inform strategies for recruiting URM faculty in STEM disciplines, which may lead to improved opportunities to create cultures of inclusion and support for diverse students (undergraduate and graduate) and postdoctoral fellows. 
    more » « less
  4. For Native American young people, paradoxical cultural pressure (i.e., pressure to do well academically while maintaining tribal identity; Komives et al., 2011), and a lack of academic preparation have been cited as barriers to their academic and career success (Jackson, Smith, & Hill, 2003); however, there is little research regarding the supports that these young people receive. This type of research is especially critical for careers where Native American students are underrepresented, such as in engineering (with Native Americans who comprise almost 2% of the U.S. population comprise only 0.4% of engineers and 0.2% of engineering faculty; NACME, 2014). To tease out differences in how Native American students are supported in their engineering career development compared to students from the dominant cultural group in engineering, we conducted a study with 50 Native American and 50 Caucasian American undergraduate and graduate engineering students. ANOVA’s showed that Caucasian American and Native American students had the same level of interest in pursuing an engineering career; however, Caucasian American students reported greater emotional and instrumental support from parents, school personnel, and peers for studying engineering. Results will be interpreted in light of how educational equity in areas of supporting Native American engineering students can be accomplished. This research was conducted by Emily Koithan, Morgan Schmitt-Morris, Yuqing Wang (Undergraduate Research Scholars [URS]), and Dr. Sherri Turner (Educational Psychology), and colleagues. 
    more » « less
  5. Despite increased efforts to stimulate diverse participation in STEM education, Native Americans (NA) continue to be underrepresented in the field of engineering as students (0.6%; N=1853) and faculty (0.2%; N=68) and at a rate disproportionate to their representation in the population (Yoder, 2016). While many systemic factors contribute to the low participation of NA in STEM fields, professional and social support may increase engagement as they pursue college degrees and consider careers in higher education. This presentation offers an overview of contemporary approaches to the career preparation of Native Americans in the field of engineering. This literature review informs an NSF-funded project to explore the factors that influence Native American interests and aspirations for engineer faculty positions (EEC 1743329/1743572). We completed a thorough search using select keywords in three databases for refereed journal articles between 1990-2017. Although there are various STEM education programs for Native Americans, there are some similarities between their specific objectives. Thematic analyses focused on (a) pre-college STEM career awareness and preparation, (b) entry and retention in engineering degrees, and (c) indigenous/native identity and cross-cultural approaches to STEM education. We make recommendations for future research and practice based on trends and gaps in the literature. More research is needed about what constitutes effective NA career mentoring. Additionally, few researchers address the implications of Native Science on engineering education and career preparation. 
    more » « less