Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Chemistry

Advisor

Bhattacharyya, Gautam

Committee Member

Cooper , Melanie M

Committee Member

Brumaghim , Julia L

Committee Member

Hazari , Zahra

Abstract

Maintaining our nation's standing as a leader of innovative and premier science and engineering research requires that those on the trajectory of these careers receive both rigorous and exceptional training. In addition to educating students in the content knowledge of these disciplines, it is also necessary to train them in the professional skills associated with being competent and conscientious scientists and engineers. In the attempts to understand the best strategies to teach these skills, research during the past few decades has shown a steadily increasing interest in improving the scientific literacy of students in science and engineering disciplines. Researchers agree that fostering this literacy--particularly with respect to understanding the nature of science, i.e., scientific epistemology--is an important component in developing students' abilities to become successful practitioners of science and engineering.
This research was motivated by the need to further elucidate the formative experiences that contribute to science and engineering faculty members' personal epistemologies of science. To examine the development of these epistemologies, a phenomenographical study was designed to elucidate academic scientists' and engineers' understandings of contributions, collaborations, and credit assignment. The results and inductive, grounded-theory analysis of interviews with faculty members in the College of Engineering and Science at a large, southeastern institution revealed a model of scientific epistemological development and its possible ties to professional identity development. This model can help inform changes in mentorship and training practices to better prepare students to manage the challenges posed by being scientists and engineers in the 21st-century.

Included in

Chemistry Commons

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