Thursday 6 April

Initial Results from a Decade-Spanning Longitudinal Study on the Curricular Complexity of Engineering Programs

I will present preliminary analyses from a longitudinal study that supplements the Multiple Institution Database for Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD), a comprehensive dataset providing valuable information about how diverse engineering students have performed and been represented across disciplines since the 1980s, with new curricular data. The study focuses on characterizing the role of the curriculum in perpetuating systemic barriers to degree progress for underrepresented groups in engineering by understanding which curricular design patterns best support degree completion and analyzing student course-taking behavior when contextualized with the codified plan of study. We sampled plans of study from 13 institutions in Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Civil, and Industrial Engineering, starting with the most recent catalog year for the institution in MIDFIELD and looking back ten years, resulting in 515 plans of study. We processed the data using Curricular Analytics, a method of assigning values to curricular arrangements and measuring a plan of study’s complexity using network analysis, and have conducted preliminary analyses using descriptive statistics, boxplots, and trends plotted by catalog year.