Date Approved

4-13-2020

Embargo Period

4-14-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Education

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica Reid

Second Advisor

Johnson, Ane Turner

Third Advisor

Ferguson, Sarah

Subject(s)

Diversity in the workplace; Engineering

Disciplines

Higher Education

Abstract

Lack of diversity in engineering programs has drawn recent national attention (National Science Foundation, 2017). Scholars have suggested the normative engineering culture perpetuates the marginalization of students and faculty with excluded identities (Leydens & Lucena, 2017; Seymour & Hewitt, 1997; Walden, Trytten, Shehab, & Foor, 2018). This multiple case study examined three engineering units committed to creating an inclusive engineering culture that values social justice in order to redefine the "ideal" engineer. The overarching research question was: How do engineering diversity champions produce and circulate institutional messages about diversity and inclusion? Drawing from communications studies, cultural studies, and organizational theory, I systematically analyzed data from 11 interviews and 209 pages of documents to better understand if gaps existed between engineering diversity champions' espoused beliefs and the institutional messages they circulated, and whether university resources shaped those messages. Findings indicate that engineering diversity champions make sense of diversity and inclusion in ways that reflect their internal commitments to social justice, but institutional resources shaped what messages were actually circulated. The theory of neoinstitutionalism is offered as a lens for understanding the isomorphic and divergent organizational behaviors evident among the cases.

Available for download on Thursday, April 14, 2022

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