"BEING IN THE BEYOND": AN ETHNOGRAPHIC CASE STUDY EXPLORING HOW AN INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING PROGRAM EMERGED AS A HYBRID SPACE FOR ENGINEERING STUDENTS
The symbolic reference to being in the “beyond” captures how individuals occupying the hybrid space create identities and cultures that extend beyond the dominant pathways recognized in engineering. The fundamental understanding of the cultural theory suggests that hybridity emerges when two cultural identities overlap that were previously discrete. Scholarship focused on hybridity emerged from studies centered on racial, ethnic, and gender identity and has progressed to examine hybridity in learning environments. I draw on fundamental understandings of hybridity to examine how an interdisciplinary engineering program reflects a hybrid space.
This dissertation employed an ethnographic case study approach to investigate the following overarching research question: How is the interdisciplinary engineering program characterized as a hybrid space? The corresponding research questions examine how the interdisciplinary engineering programs shape students’ identities, agency, and belonging and what considerations faculty make concerning students identity development, belonging, and agency in the classroom? This study involved the analysis of three streams of interview data and supporting evidence from site documents retrieved from participants and publicly available sources.
This within-case analysis resulted in the emergence of four categories of hybrid spaces—a) structural, b) cultural, c) physical, and d) pedagogical. The structural category represents how the interdisciplinary engineering program reflects a hybrid space through its policies, people, and resources. The cultural category represents how the interdisciplinary engineering program reflects a hybrid culture through its core values. The physical category represents how the interdisciplinary engineering program reflects a hybrid space through students’ access and navigation across multiple curricular and co-curricular spaces. The pedagogical category is concerned with the opportunity structures present in the curricular spaces enabling students to author and negotiate their identity as interdisciplinary engineers. Most importantly, the pedagogical category illustrates how the structural, cultural, and physical categories coalesce. By understanding this interdisciplinary engineering program, these insights can provide transferable lessons to new and emerging programs.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Engineering Education
- West Lafayette