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Are There Differences in Engineering Self-Efficacy Between Minority and Majority Students Across Academic Levels?

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

New Research & Trends for Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.224.1 - 22.224.13



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Paper Authors


K.L. Jordan Michigan Technological University Orcid 16x16

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K.L. Jordan completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2006 and 2008 respectively. During her undergraduate tenure she was an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and currently serves on the Board of Directors. She is also the President of the ASEE student chapter at Michigan Tech. As the recipient of a King-Chavez-Parks graduate fellowship, Ms. Jordan has agreed to seek an engineering faculty position upon completion of her Ph.D. degree. She is also the recipient of a GEM Fellowship.

Tammy Haut Donahue obtained earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis where she received the Allen Marr Distinguished Dissertation Award in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Haut Donahue was a post-doctoral fellow in
the Department of Orthopedic at Pennsylvania State University before joining the faculty at Michigan Technological University in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

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Susan Amato-Henderson Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Susan Amato-Henderson is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences at Michigan Technological University. Her expertise is in methodology and statistical analysis of experimental and quasi-experimental research. Most of her work involves examination of the social and cognitive indicators predictive of educational success, along with the measurement of educational outcomes. She is currently serving as Co-PI for several funded projects examining the impact of various engineering education models on student persistence, intentions, attitudes, etc.

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Sheryl A. Sorby Michigan Technological University

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Sheryl A. Sorby is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Director of Engineering Education and Research. She is the former Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering at Michigan Technological University and previously served as a rotator to the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. Sorby is active in the American Society for Engineering Education serving as Director of Programs and past chair of the Engineering Design Graphics Division of ASEE. She was a recipient of the Dow Outstanding New Faculty award and the Distinguished Teaching award, both from the North Midwest Section of ASEE. Her research interests include spatial visualization and computer aided design. She was recently awarded WEPAN’s Betty Vetter Award for research on women in engineering.

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Tammy L Haut Donahue Michigan Technological University

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Topic/session: New research and trends related to underrepresented minorities inengineering Are There Differences in Engineering Self-Efficacy Between Minority and Majority Students Across Academic Levels?AbstractWilliam A. Wulf, former president of the National Academy of Engineering, expressedthe importance of diversity in engineering when he said, “We need to understand why ina society so dependent on technology, a society that benefits so richly from the results ofengineering, a society that rewards engineers so well, engineering isn’t perceived as adesirable occupation.” Despite his sentiments, little progress has been made to attractminorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).The students who are attracted are rarely retained. Nationally, the retention to graduationrate for minority students is 37.8% compared to majority students 46.1% (NACME,2008).Something happens between a students’ freshman year and the point they decide to eitherswitch their major or drop-out of school altogether. Do minority students feel included intheir courses and labs? Do their expectations of what will happen upon graduating withan engineering degree change at some point? These questions are in fact related to theirengineering self-efficacy.Engineering self-efficacy is a person’s belief that he/she can successfully navigate theengineering curriculum and eventually become a practicing engineer. Strategies thatincrease awareness of engineering self-efficacy in minority students have the ability toimprove persistence and sense of belonging for minority students in engineering.This paper compares the self-efficacy constructs of minority and majority engineeringstudents at a predominantly white institution and examines similarities and differencesacross academic levels. The factors that are significant in predicting minority studentpersistence and sense of belonging in engineering are also explored.

Jordan, K., & Amato-Henderson, S., & Sorby, S. A., & Haut Donahue, T. L. (2011, June), Are There Differences in Engineering Self-Efficacy Between Minority and Majority Students Across Academic Levels? Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17505

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