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Investigating the impact of Community Cultural Wealth of culturally non-dominant students on the awarding gap in engineering students


   School of Energy and Electronic Engineering


About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering and will be supervised by Dr Manish Malik (School of Energy and Electronic Engineering), Dr Sarinova Simandjuntak (School of Mechanical and Design Engineering) and Dr Matthew Dennis (School of Computing). 

The work on this project could involve:

  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions aimed at building different components of Community Cultural Wealth in culturally non-dominant engineering student populations. Dr. M. Malik (SENE) has done several Systematic reviews and meta-analysis and has delivered international training sessions in this area. 
  • Qualitative analysis using grounded theory to understand the if Community Cultural Wealth plays a role in advancing student performance within four engineering schools, namely SENE, SMDE, SCES (with support from Miss Amanda Thomas) and SoC, at the University of Portsmouth. Interview staff as well as students to know what works and what does not. Dr. M. Malik has expertise in grounded theory and deductive version of Thematic Analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). In addition, quantitative AHP analysis to assess the relative importance of various CCW components that can advance student performance for engineering student population within the four engineering schools. Dr. S. Simandjuntak (SMDE) is an expert in AHP analysis and engineering education. 
  • Based on the qualitative and quantitative analysis, design and evaluate a complex intervention for the most effective CCW components aimed at reducing the awarding gaps and improving other student outcomes in general at the four engineering schools within University of Portsmouth. The intervention will likely be in the shape of a computer orchestrated learning system and or an intelligent tutor system. Dr. M. Malik and Dr. M. Dennis (SoC) are experts in these areas respectively. 
  • Peer review of findings support will be extended by the Engineering Education Research Network (EERN), which Dr. M. Malik is one of the co-founders. EERN runs annual symposium and a colloquium each year where research will be presented. The EERN will also be exploited to extend the data capture from other UK HEIs if necessitated by the project. Further publications will be submitted to Journals such as the IEEE transactions on Education and or European Journal of Engineering Education.

Project description

The well cited Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) framework by (Yosso, 2005), highlights six different capitals that successful students from culturally non-dominant populations may benefit from. Engineering students from a culturally non-dominant background may have seen improved access rates to Higher Education (HE), but challenges such as the awarding gap and dropout rates are still prevalent in the sector. On the flipside, non-dominant students may have access to social and familial capital; become resistant against oppression; become better at navigating HE environments and be very aspirational. Sharing this CCW may help them overcome the said challenges.  

This project aims to bring the benefits of CCW to all struggling students, regardless of colour. The four engineering schools should provide the diversity needed for this investigation and help build and research at least one technological intervention that shares some of the CCW. Staff and student interviews and learning interaction and performance data will be used to uncover story book themes (Braun and Clarke, 2006), using grounded theory and AHP to investigate, which elements of the CCW framework impacts student learning and performance. Using Yosso’s (2005) CCW framework, a deductive thematic analysis will also be carried out to reveal any discursive gaps. A systematic review and a meta-analysis on technological and other interventions that help develop CCW will also inform the development of a complex intervention. 

Based on this research an intervention will be designed to study its impact on the awarding gap, dropout rates and enhancing the student experience of all students. This may also enhance the trust in our schools, thereby influencing our application and conversion rates in future. Example interventions include: physical or online counterpaces where students can share different types of CCW and improve student outcomes. 

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

Training will be provided, however, knowledge of Systematic Reviews, AHP and or grounded theory will help.

How to Apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Manish Malik () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code below.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Electronic Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SENE5661023.


Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK students only).

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