Karen L. Tonso is an assistant professor of Social Foundations in the College of Education at Wayne State University. She uses approaches common to cultural anthropology to study the structure of schooling, especially the myriad ways that everyday life in learning communities contributes to the social and cultural production of inequality along gender, race, and social class lines. In her cultural studies of engineering education, she brings to bear 15 years of experiences as a reservoir engineer in the petroleum industry. Her research in engineering education received the 1999 Mary Catherine Ellwein Outstanding Dissertation Award (Qualitative Research Methodology) and the 1998 Selma Greenberg Distinguished Dissertation Award (Research on Women and Education) from the American Educational Research Association. In other projects she examined the contributions of “standardized” schools to rampage violence at Columbine High School and the impact of a decision to decharter a middle school on the education of African American children.
Teams that Work: Campus Culture, Engineer Identity, and Social Interactions
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
2006 American Society for Engineering Education
Journal of Engineering Education
Volume 95, Issue 1, pages 25–37, January 2006
How to Cite
Tonso, K. L. (2006), Teams that Work: Campus Culture, Engineer Identity, and Social Interactions. Journal of Engineering Education, 95: 25–37. doi: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2006.tb00875.x
- Issue published online: 2 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
- design engineering;
- engineering ethics;
- gender relations;
Not all student teams are created equal. Some manage to produce excellent engineering results, others fabricate it. Social interactions in some teams are respectful, while on other teams some members expect others to carry the load, but take credit for it later. With engineering teamwork becoming more prevalent on engineering campuses, knowing more about student design teams that work is especially important. This article uses two teamwork cases from a large-scale ethnographic study of an engineering design program to describe not only the ways that student engineers practiced design teamwork, but also how campus culture reached into social interactions between teammates via engineering identities produced on campus. A model for effective teamwork emerged that implies producing high quality engineering products, and doing so through respectful social interactions. Implications for teaching about teamwork, teaching with teams, and thinking about ways to change campus cultures to better promote design engineering are developed.