Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study<br />Marisa  Orr*<br />Zahra Hazar...
Motivation<br />In 2007, 58% of all Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women<br />In Engineering, only 18% went to women<b...
Motivation<br />Why aren’t more women choosing engineering?<br />What can we learn from those that do?<br />How do they co...
Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994)<br />4<br />Contextual Influences  Proximal to Choice Behavior<...
Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994)<br />5<br />Contextual Influences  Proximal to Choice Behavior<...
Valence Model from Vroom’s Expectancy Theory<br />Vj= valence of occupation j<br />Vk = valence of outcome k<br />Ijk = pe...
PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project<br />Funded by the NSF (GSE/RES #062444)<br />Students at 34...
PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project<br />Questions used in this study:<br />What do you want to ...
Selected Results<br />9<br />
Inventing New Things<br />Female engineers found it more important to invent new things than other females, but not as muc...
Becoming Well Known<br />Becoming well known is less important to female engineers than it is to other females or other en...
Having Lots of Job Opportunities<br />Having lots of job opportunities is more important to female engineers than to other...
Working with People rather than Objects<br />Female engineers rated working with people rather than objects less important...
Time for Family<br />Female engineers rated time for family significantly less important than female non-engineers<br />Po...
Career Motivations by Gender<br />15<br />
Time for Self/Friends<br />The females who choose engineering placed less value on having time for them selves and friends...
Helping Others<br />Helping others was less important to female engineers than to other females, but more important than t...
Summary<br />Some expected outcomes are positive and appropriate:<br />Engineering will enable me to invent new things<br ...
Summary (cont.)<br />Several are somewhat negative:<br />It is difficult to become well known as engineers<br />Engineerin...
Implications<br /><ul><li>Engineering is attracting a subset of the female population
It may be necessary for women to have a greater adherence to the values ascribed to engineering professions in order to ov...
The messages women may be receiving characterize engineering professions as requiring the de-prioritization of other perso...
These findings suggest a need for a change in both the culture and image of engineering as a field</li></ul>20<br />
Next Steps<br />The “other quadrant”<br />Effect sizes<br />Race/ethnicity<br />Second wave data<br />HBCU, HSI<br />More ...
Questions?  Implications? Suggestions? Discussion?<br />22<br />
Thank you<br />M. K. Orr, Z. S. Hazari, P. M. Sadler, and G. Sonnert, “Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-...
24<br />
PRiSE Reliability and Validity<br />Reliability<br />Test-retest study (n=96); r=0.7<br />Validity<br />Face/Content valid...
Similarities among all three groups<br />Using talents and abilities (5.23)<br />Having job security (5.14)<br />Having an...
Differences<br />Engineering Females were:<br />Different from other females but not from engineering males on two outcome...
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Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study

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Engineering professions have been far less successful than other professions at attracting female students. This study attempts to shed light on this phenomenon by examining the importance, or valence (a term used in psychology to denote the intrinsic attractiveness of an object, situation, or event), that students associate with career-related outcomes. A social cognitive career theory framework and Vroom’s valence model are used to examine the importance that female freshman engineering students (n=87) place on various career-related outcomes compared with other female freshmen (n=2236) and with male engineering students (n=484). The data used in this study was drawn from the PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project, which focuses on identifying high school factors that influence the persistence of females in STEM disciplines. Funded by the NSF, PRiSE is a large-scale study that surveyed a nationally-representative sample of college English students about their interests and experiences in science and engineering. This study finds that in terms of career-related outcome valences, women who choose engineering are not representative of women in general, nor are they representative of engineers in general. On three measures, they do not even fall between both comparison groups. Engineering is attracting an outlying subset of the female population, and those females are somewhat more extreme in their career motivations than the average male engineer. The results imply that the social and cultural messages women may be receiving characterize engineering professions as requiring the de-prioritization of other personal and social goals.

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Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study

  1. 1. Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study<br />Marisa Orr*<br />Zahra Hazari<br />Gerhard Sonnert<br />Philip Sadler<br />
  2. 2. Motivation<br />In 2007, 58% of all Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women<br />In Engineering, only 18% went to women<br />2<br />Why aren’t more women choosing engineering?<br />http://www.asee.org/publications/profiles/upload/2007ProfileEng.pdf<br />
  3. 3. Motivation<br />Why aren’t more women choosing engineering?<br />What can we learn from those that do?<br />How do they compare to the general female population with respect to career motivations?<br />How do they compare to the general engineering population with respect to career motivations?<br />3<br />
  4. 4. Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994)<br />4<br />Contextual Influences Proximal to Choice Behavior<br />Person Inputs<br />*predispositions<br />*gender<br />*race/ethnicity<br />*disability/health status<br />Self-Efficacy<br />Performance Domains and Attainments<br />Learning Experiences<br />Choice Goals<br />Choice Actions<br />Interests<br />Outcome Expectations<br />Background <br />Contextual Affordances<br />
  5. 5. Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994)<br />5<br />Contextual Influences Proximal to Choice Behavior<br />Person Inputs<br />*predispositions<br />*gender<br />*race/ethnicity<br />*disability/health status<br />Self-Efficacy<br />Performance Domains and Attainments<br />Learning Experiences<br />Choice Goals<br />Choice Actions<br />Interests<br />Outcome Expectations<br />Background <br />Contextual Affordances<br />
  6. 6. Valence Model from Vroom’s Expectancy Theory<br />Vj= valence of occupation j<br />Vk = valence of outcome k<br />Ijk = perceived instrumentality of occupation j in affording outcome k<br />A student values a particular outcome highly is most likely to choose an occupation that will afford that outcome<br />6<br />
  7. 7. PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project<br />Funded by the NSF (GSE/RES #062444)<br />Students at 34 randomly selected colleges/universities across the United States were surveyed<br />Fall 2007<br />Freshmen in introductory college English<br />87 female engineers <br />2236 female non-engineers <br />486 male engineers<br />7<br />
  8. 8. PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project<br />Questions used in this study:<br />What do you want to be?<br />Engineer<br />Biologist<br />Chemist<br />Lawyer…<br />Rate the following factors in terms of their importance for your future career satisfaction<br />Making money<br />Becoming well known<br />Helping other people…<br />8<br />
  9. 9. Selected Results<br />9<br />
  10. 10. Inventing New Things<br />Female engineers found it more important to invent new things than other females, but not as much as male engineers<br />Possible perception: Engineering will enable me to invent new things<br />10<br />
  11. 11. Becoming Well Known<br />Becoming well known is less important to female engineers than it is to other females or other engineers<br /><ul><li>Possible perception: It is difficult to become well known as engineers</li></ul>11<br />
  12. 12. Having Lots of Job Opportunities<br />Having lots of job opportunities is more important to female engineers than to other females or other engineers<br />Possible perception: Engineering offers lots of job opportunities<br />12<br />
  13. 13. Working with People rather than Objects<br />Female engineers rated working with people rather than objects less important than female non-engineers<br />Possible perception: Engineering involves working with objects rather than people<br />13<br />
  14. 14. Time for Family<br />Female engineers rated time for family significantly less important than female non-engineers<br />Possible perception: Becoming an engineer will require me to sacrifice family time<br />14<br />
  15. 15. Career Motivations by Gender<br />15<br />
  16. 16. Time for Self/Friends<br />The females who choose engineering placed less value on having time for them selves and friends than other females and other engineers<br />Possible perception: To be an engineer means sacrificing personal time<br />16<br />
  17. 17. Helping Others<br />Helping others was less important to female engineers than to other females, but more important than to male engineers<br />Possible perception: Engineering allows some opportunity to help people, but if it is a priority for me, I should choose a different field<br />17<br />
  18. 18. Summary<br />Some expected outcomes are positive and appropriate:<br />Engineering will enable me to invent new things<br />Engineering offers lots of job opportunities<br />or neutral:<br />Engineering involves working with objects rather than people<br />18<br />
  19. 19. Summary (cont.)<br />Several are somewhat negative:<br />It is difficult to become well known as engineers<br />Engineering allows some opportunity to help people, but if it is a priority for me, I should choose a different field<br />Becoming an engineer will require me to sacrifice family time<br />To be an engineer means sacrificing personal time<br />Is this an image problem? <br /> ...or is it the culture of engineering?<br />19<br />
  20. 20. Implications<br /><ul><li>Engineering is attracting a subset of the female population
  21. 21. It may be necessary for women to have a greater adherence to the values ascribed to engineering professions in order to overcome the social barriers
  22. 22. The messages women may be receiving characterize engineering professions as requiring the de-prioritization of other personal and social goals
  23. 23. These findings suggest a need for a change in both the culture and image of engineering as a field</li></ul>20<br />
  24. 24. Next Steps<br />The “other quadrant”<br />Effect sizes<br />Race/ethnicity<br />Second wave data<br />HBCU, HSI<br />More sophisticated models<br />Logistic Regression<br />21<br />
  25. 25. Questions? Implications? Suggestions? Discussion?<br />22<br />
  26. 26. Thank you<br />M. K. Orr, Z. S. Hazari, P. M. Sadler, and G. Sonnert, “Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study.” Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference (2009).<br />23<br />
  27. 27. 24<br />
  28. 28. PRiSE Reliability and Validity<br />Reliability<br />Test-retest study (n=96); r=0.7<br />Validity<br />Face/Content validity<br />Focus Groups with students, science education experts<br />Student pilot testing (n=49)<br />25<br />
  29. 29. Similarities among all three groups<br />Using talents and abilities (5.23)<br />Having job security (5.14)<br />Having an exciting job (5.04)<br />Making own decisions (4.86)<br />Making money (4.77)<br />Developing new knowledge (4.58)<br />Supervising others (3.08)<br />Having an easy job (2.95)<br />26<br />
  30. 30. Differences<br />Engineering Females were:<br />Different from other females but not from engineering males on two outcome expectations<br />In between, but different from both non-engineering females and engineering males on two outcome expectations<br />More extreme than both groups on three outcome expectations<br />27<br />
  31. 31. Helping Others (cont.)<br />Female engineers place greater importance on helping others than male engineers<br />Women are most likely to choose certain fields within engineering (Gibbons, 2007)<br />Biological and agricultural<br />Biomedical<br />Chemical<br />Environmental<br />Industrial/manufacturing engineering <br />It is plausible that women choose these disciplines because they afford opportunities to help people and the environment. <br />28<br />
  32. 32. Implications – Change the system, change the image<br />Increase humanitarian efforts and advertise them<br />Make the ways in which engineers help people and society explicit<br />Inform K-12 teachers, counselors, and the general public about engineering:<br />Emphasize teamwork<br />Counter stereotypes that engineering is a one-dimensional field that requires giving up social interaction and other desires<br />29<br />
  33. 33. Implications (cont.)<br />Make sure reward and networking systems are not gender-biased<br />Provide support and resources for women (and men) managing dual roles (Nauta, 1997; Betz 1994)<br />Encourage all engineers to manage their work-life balance appropriately<br />Provide more good role models, less bad ones<br />30<br />

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