Alexandria Digital Research Library

"You Must Be Smart": Intersecting Gender, Ethnicity, and Degree Type in the Lives of University Mathematics Majors

Author:
Dwyer, Hilary A.
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Degree Supervisor:
Yukari Okamoto
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2014
Issued Date:
2014
Topics:
Education, Higher, Gender Studies, and Education, Mathematics
Keywords:
Intersectionality
Postsecondary Mathematics
Mathematics Majors
STEM Education
Ethnicity
Gender
Genres:
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Dissertation:
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014
Description:

Many students struggle with the transition into and through university mathematics because they are entering a world that more closely aligns to the language and practices of mathematicians rather than K-12 mathematics. As yet, few studies have focused on how some groups of students experience, succeed, and persist in university mathematics. And fewer still have provided continued examination of the ways that gender and ethnic identities position students' perceptions of mathematics as field and of the ways mathematics is taught. This study focused on how university mathematics majors viewed and perceived the ways that gender and ethnicity impacted their own and others' experiences in mathematics. Data were collected through 35 interviews and three focus groups with a subsample of participants at a public university in Southern California. Data were thematically analyzed in multiple rounds with an intersectional lens, which resulted in three sets of findings: how mathematics majors perceived gender to have impacted university mathematics and their experiences, how mathematics majors perceived ethnicity to have impacted university mathematics and their experiences, and the ways the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees were feminized and devalued by students, professors, and the department. These findings suggest that bias around gender and ethnicity in postsecondary mathematics continues, and pervasive stereotypes about "good" mathematics students as predominantly European American and male exist. I close with recommendations for sustainable and positive changes that could be incorporated into policy, curricula, and campus support to improve participation rates of both women and Latino/a students.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (219 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f30g3h90
ISBN:
9781321567687
Catalog System Number:
990045118160203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Hilary Dwyer
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