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Clinician-engineer Career Bias and Its Relationship to Engineering Design Self-efficacy among Biomedical Engineering Undergraduates

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineers and Professional Development - June 23rd

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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William H. Guilford University of Virginia Orcid 16x16

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Will Guilford is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. He is also the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education in the School of Engineering. He received his B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from St. Francis College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Arizona. Will did his postdoctoral training in Molecular Biophysics at the University of Vermont. His research interests include novel assessments of educational efficacy, the molecular basis of cell movement, and the mitigation of infectious diseases.

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Biomedical engineering undergraduates are often drawn to clinical practice rather than to careers in engineering. This implies an equivalent self-concept among BME majors as clinicians than as engineers – a psychological construct relating to a student’s belief about themselves, and their affinity for certain identities. There are several instruments for measuring engineering self-concept, some tied directly to self-efficacy – a belief in one’s ability to achieve success. However, these instruments do not necessarily tie to beliefs about careers, for example becoming a doctor rather than an engineer, and all of these instruments rely on explicit declarations by students. We therefore sought to measure career self-concept through both explicit and implicit means, and relate these to self-efficacy. An Implicit Association Test was employed to measure implicit career self-concept among a group of biomedical engineering students enrolled in a design class. Explicit career bias was also measured, as was engineering design self-efficacy. We found a moderate to strong correlation between explicitly declared bias toward engineering as a career, and an implicit measure of career self-concept. These were unrelated to all but one aspect of self-efficacy. We found that there was a gain from the beginning to the end of the semester in career bias, and that there was a trend toward this gain being among men, but not among women. We believe that these measures can be used to isolate the effects of curriculum, learning, and teaching interventions in the development of biases among biomedical engineering students toward differential career goals.

Guilford, W. H. (2020, June), Clinician-engineer Career Bias and Its Relationship to Engineering Design Self-efficacy among Biomedical Engineering Undergraduates Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34289

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