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Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study Marisa  Orr* Zahra Hazari Gerhard Sonnert Philip Sadler
Motivation In 2007, 58% of all Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women In Engineering, only 18% went to women 2 Why aren’t more women choosing engineering? http://www.asee.org/publications/profiles/upload/2007ProfileEng.pdf
Motivation Why aren’t more women choosing engineering? What can we learn from those that do? How do they compare to the general female population with respect to career motivations? How do they compare to the general engineering population with respect to career motivations? 3
Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994) 4 Contextual Influences  Proximal to Choice Behavior Person Inputs *predispositions *gender *race/ethnicity *disability/health status Self-Efficacy Performance Domains and Attainments Learning Experiences Choice Goals Choice Actions Interests Outcome Expectations Background  Contextual  Affordances
Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994) 5 Contextual Influences  Proximal to Choice Behavior Person Inputs *predispositions *gender *race/ethnicity *disability/health status Self-Efficacy Performance Domains and Attainments Learning Experiences Choice Goals Choice Actions Interests Outcome Expectations Background  Contextual  Affordances
Valence Model from Vroom’s Expectancy Theory Vj= valence of occupation j Vk = valence of outcome k Ijk = perceived instrumentality of occupation j in affording outcome k A student values a particular outcome highly is most likely to choose an occupation that will afford that outcome 6
PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project Funded by the NSF (GSE/RES #062444) Students at 34 randomly selected colleges/universities across the United States were surveyed Fall 2007 Freshmen in introductory college English 87 female engineers  2236 female non-engineers  486 male engineers 7
PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project Questions used in this study: What do you want to be? Engineer Biologist Chemist Lawyer… Rate the following factors in terms of their importance for your future career satisfaction Making money Becoming well known Helping other people… 8
Selected Results 9
Inventing New Things Female engineers found it more important to invent new things than other females, but not as much as male engineers Possible perception: Engineering will enable me to invent new things 10
Becoming Well Known Becoming well known is less important to female engineers than it is to other females or other engineers ,[object Object],11
Having Lots of Job Opportunities Having lots of job opportunities is more important to female engineers than to other females or other engineers Possible perception: Engineering offers lots of job opportunities 12
Working with People rather than Objects Female engineers rated working with people rather than objects less important than female non-engineers Possible perception: Engineering involves working with objects rather than people 13
Time for Family Female engineers rated time for family significantly less important than female non-engineers Possible perception: Becoming an engineer will require me to sacrifice family time 14
Career Motivations by Gender 15
Time for Self/Friends The females who choose engineering placed less value on having time for them selves and friends than other females and other engineers Possible perception: To be an engineer means sacrificing personal time 16
Helping Others Helping others was less important to female engineers than to other females, but more important than to male engineers Possible perception: Engineering allows some opportunity to help people, but if it is a priority for me, I should choose a different field 17
Summary Some expected outcomes are positive and appropriate: Engineering will enable me to invent new things Engineering offers lots of job opportunities or neutral: Engineering involves working with objects rather than people 18
Summary (cont.) Several are somewhat negative: It is difficult to become well known as engineers Engineering allows some opportunity to help people, but if it is a priority for me, I should choose a different field Becoming an engineer will require me to sacrifice family time To be an engineer means sacrificing personal time Is this an image problem?  	...or is it the culture of engineering? 19
Implications ,[object Object]
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
The messages women may be receiving characterize engineering professions as requiring the de-prioritization of other personal and social goals
These findings suggest a need for a change in both the culture and image of engineering as a field20
Next Steps The “other quadrant” Effect sizes Race/ethnicity Second wave data HBCU, HSI More sophisticated models Logistic Regression 21
Questions?  Implications? Suggestions? Discussion? 22
Thank you 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). 23
24
PRiSE Reliability and Validity Reliability Test-retest study (n=96); r=0.7 Validity Face/Content validity Focus Groups with students, science education experts Student pilot testing (n=49) 25
Similarities among all three groups Using talents and abilities (5.23) Having job security (5.14) Having an exciting job (5.04) Making own decisions (4.86) Making money (4.77) Developing new knowledge (4.58) Supervising others (3.08) Having an easy job (2.95) 26
Differences Engineering Females were: Different from other females but not from engineering males on two outcome expectations In between, but different from both non-engineering females and engineering males on two outcome expectations More extreme than both groups on three outcome expectations 27

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

  • 1. Career Motivations of Freshman Engineering and Non-Engineering Students: A Gender Study Marisa Orr* Zahra Hazari Gerhard Sonnert Philip Sadler
  • 2. Motivation In 2007, 58% of all Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women In Engineering, only 18% went to women 2 Why aren’t more women choosing engineering? http://www.asee.org/publications/profiles/upload/2007ProfileEng.pdf
  • 3. Motivation Why aren’t more women choosing engineering? What can we learn from those that do? How do they compare to the general female population with respect to career motivations? How do they compare to the general engineering population with respect to career motivations? 3
  • 4. Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994) 4 Contextual Influences Proximal to Choice Behavior Person Inputs *predispositions *gender *race/ethnicity *disability/health status Self-Efficacy Performance Domains and Attainments Learning Experiences Choice Goals Choice Actions Interests Outcome Expectations Background Contextual Affordances
  • 5. Social Cognitive Career Theory(Lent, Brown, Hackett, 1994) 5 Contextual Influences Proximal to Choice Behavior Person Inputs *predispositions *gender *race/ethnicity *disability/health status Self-Efficacy Performance Domains and Attainments Learning Experiences Choice Goals Choice Actions Interests Outcome Expectations Background Contextual Affordances
  • 6. Valence Model from Vroom’s Expectancy Theory Vj= valence of occupation j Vk = valence of outcome k Ijk = perceived instrumentality of occupation j in affording outcome k A student values a particular outcome highly is most likely to choose an occupation that will afford that outcome 6
  • 7. PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project Funded by the NSF (GSE/RES #062444) Students at 34 randomly selected colleges/universities across the United States were surveyed Fall 2007 Freshmen in introductory college English 87 female engineers 2236 female non-engineers 486 male engineers 7
  • 8. PRiSE (Persistence Research in Science & Engineering) Project Questions used in this study: What do you want to be? Engineer Biologist Chemist Lawyer… Rate the following factors in terms of their importance for your future career satisfaction Making money Becoming well known Helping other people… 8
  • 10. Inventing New Things Female engineers found it more important to invent new things than other females, but not as much as male engineers Possible perception: Engineering will enable me to invent new things 10
  • 11.
  • 12. Having Lots of Job Opportunities Having lots of job opportunities is more important to female engineers than to other females or other engineers Possible perception: Engineering offers lots of job opportunities 12
  • 13. Working with People rather than Objects Female engineers rated working with people rather than objects less important than female non-engineers Possible perception: Engineering involves working with objects rather than people 13
  • 14. Time for Family Female engineers rated time for family significantly less important than female non-engineers Possible perception: Becoming an engineer will require me to sacrifice family time 14
  • 16. Time for Self/Friends The females who choose engineering placed less value on having time for them selves and friends than other females and other engineers Possible perception: To be an engineer means sacrificing personal time 16
  • 17. Helping Others Helping others was less important to female engineers than to other females, but more important than to male engineers Possible perception: Engineering allows some opportunity to help people, but if it is a priority for me, I should choose a different field 17
  • 18. Summary Some expected outcomes are positive and appropriate: Engineering will enable me to invent new things Engineering offers lots of job opportunities or neutral: Engineering involves working with objects rather than people 18
  • 19. Summary (cont.) Several are somewhat negative: It is difficult to become well known as engineers Engineering allows some opportunity to help people, but if it is a priority for me, I should choose a different field Becoming an engineer will require me to sacrifice family time To be an engineer means sacrificing personal time Is this an image problem? ...or is it the culture of engineering? 19
  • 20.
  • 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. The messages women may be receiving characterize engineering professions as requiring the de-prioritization of other personal and social goals
  • 23. These findings suggest a need for a change in both the culture and image of engineering as a field20
  • 24. Next Steps The “other quadrant” Effect sizes Race/ethnicity Second wave data HBCU, HSI More sophisticated models Logistic Regression 21
  • 25. Questions? Implications? Suggestions? Discussion? 22
  • 26. Thank you 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). 23
  • 27. 24
  • 28. PRiSE Reliability and Validity Reliability Test-retest study (n=96); r=0.7 Validity Face/Content validity Focus Groups with students, science education experts Student pilot testing (n=49) 25
  • 29. Similarities among all three groups Using talents and abilities (5.23) Having job security (5.14) Having an exciting job (5.04) Making own decisions (4.86) Making money (4.77) Developing new knowledge (4.58) Supervising others (3.08) Having an easy job (2.95) 26
  • 30. Differences Engineering Females were: Different from other females but not from engineering males on two outcome expectations In between, but different from both non-engineering females and engineering males on two outcome expectations More extreme than both groups on three outcome expectations 27
  • 31. Helping Others (cont.) Female engineers place greater importance on helping others than male engineers Women are most likely to choose certain fields within engineering (Gibbons, 2007) Biological and agricultural Biomedical Chemical Environmental Industrial/manufacturing engineering It is plausible that women choose these disciplines because they afford opportunities to help people and the environment. 28
  • 32. Implications – Change the system, change the image Increase humanitarian efforts and advertise them Make the ways in which engineers help people and society explicit Inform K-12 teachers, counselors, and the general public about engineering: Emphasize teamwork Counter stereotypes that engineering is a one-dimensional field that requires giving up social interaction and other desires 29
  • 33. Implications (cont.) Make sure reward and networking systems are not gender-biased Provide support and resources for women (and men) managing dual roles (Nauta, 1997; Betz 1994) Encourage all engineers to manage their work-life balance appropriately Provide more good role models, less bad ones 30

Editor's Notes

  1. The anticipated consequences of a course of actionmaking money (physical)becoming well-known (social)developing new knowledge (self-reflective)
  2. Engineering is attracting an outlying subset of the female population with regards to certain motivations, and these females are somewhat more extreme in certain career motivations than even the average male engineer. 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 and choose engineering. These 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, thus attracting only the women who are willing to sacrifice such goals.