Phase 0 of the research plan has been completed. In Phase 0, the research tools (surveys, focus group and interview protocols) have been developed and graduate research assistants trained to use these tools. Pilot survey items have been collected from a wide variety of existing scales (with some modifications) to assess how well connected a person is to his community.
We developed a conceptual model that aggregates a wide range of constructs previously used by our group or other research groups. The model was developed from community-related constructs that are hypothesized to impact STEM Education through academic engagement which then leads to identification with the discipline, positive affect toward the discipline, and eventually persistence in the discipline. Our conceptual model also includes constructs that are most likely to confound the influence of these community related measures. The pathways by which each of these constructs (but especially a student’s connections to community) may directly influence or mediate academic engagement are captured in our research framework, with emphasis on a student’s connections to community.
Our phase 0 results reveal a strong Pearson correlation (0.50) between identity and connection to academic major as well as between affect and connection to academic major (0.56), somewhat smaller correlations to a specific classroom community (0.41 and 0.39), and still significant, but even smaller correlations to the larger institution (0.32 and 0.25). Thus, helping students connect to academic major communities and classrooms appears to increase the students professional identities and affect toward those professions.
Tamara Floyd, Denise Wilson, Ryan Campbell, Diane Jones, Nanette Veilleux, Rebecca Bates, Melani Plett, Elaine Scott, and Don Peter, “A Multi-Institutional Study of Connection, Community, and Engagement in STEM Education: Conceptual Model Development,” ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) Annual Conference 2010: Louisville, Kentucky.
Ken Yasuhara, Denise Wilson, Rebecca Bates, Tamara Floyd-Smith, Nanette Veilleux, Melani Plett, and Ryan Campbell, “Student Connections to Community in Computer Science and Engineering Education,” SIGCSE (Computer Science Education) Conference: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 2010.
Our conceptual model and brief description of the constructs can be found at the website below.