Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

Summer 6-26-2023


Research examining the quality of engineering programs across different instructions of learning has revealed that no two programs are alike. Each program has unique and distinctive features that influence the quality and rigor of education that students receive. Institutional culture, leadership, faculty preparedness, funding and many other factors influence program quality. Additionally, researchers have also noted that many institutional gaps and equity related issues are persistent and troublesome facets that further exacerbate the academic gaps in STEM education. It is within this context, that students attending top tier universities will likely have remarkedly vast academic experiences in terms of level of rigor and quality of education when compared to their counterparts enrolled in minority serving institutions. In this study, a mechanical engineering faculty previously employed at a tier-one private research institution, taught a Rigid Body Dynamics course in a minority-serving institution with the same rigor but with a different pedagogical approach. The objective was to implement equity teaching and expose underrepresented students to the rigorous vector approach, which is only taught at a very few top tier-one institutions across the country and involves having a sound understanding of vector calculus and linear algebra. Given the students’ mathematical background, the faculty member decided to implement an inclusive teaching methodology by working out step-by-step examples as a collaborative effort with students to adopt the rigor of the course. The structure of the class was as followed: introduction, inquire, theory, and examples. A self-developed, open-ended survey was conducted to a total of 44 students enrolled in the engineering course. Results indicate that solving examples during class provided a foundation to fully understand the theoretical aspects of the course and allowed assignments to be completed with much ease. Students also mentioned that the rigor of the course was nothing they had experienced before, but given the pedagogical strategy implemented of solving step-by-step examples, it was to easier to appreciate the intricate details of a vectorial approach. Others felt valued by being treated as students in top tier institutions, while a few mentioned the rigor of the course is needed to ensure the quality of education.


© 2023 American Society for Engineering Education.



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