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  1. Abstract Background

    Mental health for engineering undergraduates is an urgent topic for engineering educators. Narratives of engineering education requiring suffering may create or exacerbate problematic perceptions around stress and mental health in engineering. This study explored the roles of stress and mental health in engineering culture. We sought to explore: (1) how engineering students describe their experiences related to stress and mental health and (2) norms and expectations engineering students share about stress and mental health. Qualitative interview data were collected from 30 students who had previously responded to a college-wide survey.


    Codes related to experiences with stress and mental health in engineering were organized in a bioecological systems model and analyzed for emergent themes depicting engineering culture. The study identified three themes related to stress and mental health in engineering culture: (1) engineering workload as a defining stressor, (2) specific barriers that prevent engineering students from seeking help for mental health concerns, and (3) reliance on peers to cope with stress and mental health distress.


    Our analysis provided insight into how engineering students perceive norms around stress and mental health in engineering and how this impacts help-seeking for mental health challenges. These findings have important implications for developing interventions andmore »positive cultures that support student mental health.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  3. This paper describes the Engineering Education Research (EER) Peer Review Training (PERT) project, which is designed to develop EER scholars’ peer review skills through mentored reviewing experiences. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the overall programmatic goals of the PERT project are to establish and evaluate a mentored reviewer program for 1) EER journal manuscripts and 2) EER grant proposals. Concurrently, the project seeks to explore how EER scholars develop schema for evaluating EER scholarship, whether these schema are shared in the community, and how schema influence recommendations made to journal editors during the peer review process. To accomplish these goals, the PERT project leveraged the previously established Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) Mentored Reviewer Program, where two researchers with little reviewing experience are paired with an experienced mentor to complete three manuscript reviews collaboratively. In this paper we report on focus group and exit survey findings from the JEE Mentored Reviewer Program and discuss revisions to the program in response to those findings.
  4. This is the first of a series of studies that explore the relationship between disciplinary background and the weighting of various elements of a manuscript in peer reviewers’ determination of publication recommendations. Research questions include: (1) To what extent are tacit criteria for determining quality or value of EER manuscripts influenced by reviewers’ varied disciplinary backgrounds and levels of expertise? and (2) To what extent does mentored peer review professional development influence reviewers’ EER manuscript evaluations? Data were collected from 27 mentors and mentees in a peer review professional development program. Participants reviewed the same two manuscripts, using a form to identify strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations. Responses were coded by two researchers (70% IRR). Our findings suggest that disciplinary background influences reviewers’ evaluation of EER manuscripts. We also found evidence that professional development can improve reviewers’ understanding of EER disciplinary conventions. Deeper understanding of the epistemological basis for manuscript reviews may reveal ways to strengthen professional preparation in engineering education as well as other disciplines.
  5. Reports on results from the first year of the RFE project, in which PhD engineering students were interviewed about stressors.