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Applying The Theory Of Planned Behavior: Recruiting Underrepresented Minorities To Engineering And Engineering Technology

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Diversity: Women & Minorities in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.214.1 - 10.214.10



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Kuyath

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3148

Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior: Recruiting Underrepresented Minorities to Engineering and Engineering Technology Stephen J. Kuyath UNC Charlotte, Department of Engineering Technology

Abstract There is mounting evidence that the United Sates will soon experience a shortage of qualified high-tech workers that will jeopardize the country’s economic future. It is imperative that we recruit more women and minorities into engineering to prevent the anticipated shortage. Clearly, past recruiting strategies have had only moderate success, so a more holistic approach must be taken to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to consider engineering or engineering technology as an attainable career goal. Outreach programs that focus only on the targeted groups may not be doing enough.

The Theory of Planned Behavior describes three main factors that directly affect a person’s intentions to behave in a particular manner, such as enrolling in an engineering or engineering technology college program. Once a person intends to engage in an activity, s/he will typically proceed unless some mitigating circumstances arise. The three main factors affecting intentions are 1) the person’s attitude toward the behavior or activity, 2) the perceived subjective norms regarding the behavior, and 3) the difficulty of engaging in the activity.

We have implemented an outreach project that is directed at all of the factors described above to help recruit non-traditional students into engineering and engineering technology careers. We are showing high school students that engineering can be fun, engaging, and possible for them through high school clubs and competitions, affecting their perceived behavioral control. We are informing them about careers, job outlooks, and college programs, thus affecting their attitudes. Moreover, we are meeting with parents, teachers, and counselors to educate the community on the opportunities available to these students, affecting the subjective norm for these students. We believe that all of these activities will encourage non-traditional engineering students to strongly consider a career in engineering. In this paper, we will provide details of the project, and measured results of our efforts to date.

Introduction In 2003, Gibbons1 reported that the demand for engineers is increasing, but the production of engineers in America is decreasing: the United States is facing an imminent shortage of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians2. One of the reasons for this shortage is that female, African American, Latino, and Native American high-school students continue to show little interest in pursuing careers related to these subjects2. These students are depriving themselves of many technical and scientific career choices, as well as access to high salaried

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Kuyath, S. (2005, June), Applying The Theory Of Planned Behavior: Recruiting Underrepresented Minorities To Engineering And Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14240

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