In response to the NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education in Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), this collaborative project seeks to uncover the non-obvious needs and existing successes at HSIs that can be addressed and amplified in future NSF initiatives to improve undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. When considered together, however, the disciplines of STEM encompass a vast array of potential stakeholders, professional certification requirements, and unique degree plans. Therefore, to better identify impactful research needs in response to this DCL, this project addresses a component of STEM education and focuses on improving undergraduate engineering education at HSIs. The goal of this project is to convene multiple workshops with engineering educators at both two- and four-year HSIs to advance the engineering education research community’s understanding of the particular research needs of engineering programs at HSIs and the students, educators, and staff who make-up those programs. During these workshops, participants are given a chance to test out three innovative approaches to supporting student learning that are independent of specific pedagogies or tools: Design Thinking, Intrinsic Motivation, and students as Empowered Agents. Based on collecting and analyzing participant reactions to these impactful ideas, a list of barriers still needing attention and successes worth amplifying will be extracted and reported to NSF and the broader engineering education community. Through workshop activities and follow-up surveys, we will develop a set of research questions and needs that could serve as a basis for future National Science Foundation calls for proposals.
The findings will further existing work on the regional and national research needs of HSIs, report on high-level educational challenges facing members of these institutions, and highlight key successes that could all serve as the basis for future NSF calls for proposals. The workshops themselves will provide a venue for engaging educators from underrepresented HSIs in conversations about the future of engineering education, creating new pathways for interested educators to explore engineering education scholarship and research.