Student Perspectives in an All-Female First-Year Engineering Innovation Course

Kimberly E. Bigelow
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
University of Dayton 300 College Park Dayton, OH 45469–0238
Email: Kimberly.Bigelow@udayton.edu

Abstract
In Fall 2008 the University of Dayton first offered their restructured first-year design course entitled Engineering Innovation. A year later an all-female section of the course was offered, in conjunction with the development of a Women in Science and Engineering Living Learning Community. Now having finished the second year of this initiative, this paper focuses on student perspectives of having been in an all-female engineering design class. Reflection papers written by the students detailed both perceived benefits and consequences of the all-female class experience. This paper examines these perceptions and discusses the implications these perceptions have for teaching traditional mixed-gendered innovation courses so that they might be more inclusive to all students.

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