June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.376.1 - 22.376.30
Consideration of Happenstance Theory in Major Selection and Migration in a Large Engineering ProgramApproximately 1,000 second-semester engineering students, all of whom were admitted into afirst-year program as General Engineering students, were surveyed to determine their initialinterest in 14 different available engineering majors, their major choice, certainty of choice, andthe information sources they valued for choosing an engineering major. Data showed thatinitially students were considering over three different majors on average, with women beingmore undecided than men. Approximately 6% of students were initially completely undecidedabout choice of engineering major. Even after major selection, there is an uncertainty that theproper choice has been made, but analysis of internal transfers within engineering indicate thatafter students choose a major they generally stay in that major or leave engineering. This effect isbelieved to be due to the system that allows students a minimum of one semester to consider thedifferent options before making a choice. The system is designed so that before they choose amajor the students are exposed to multiple sources of information, consistent with indicationsfrom happenstance theory regarding a successful outcome in making a decision on major. Highlyvalued information sources when choosing an engineering major include family, friends, otherstudents, departmental information sessions, and departmental websites. Less valued sourcesinclude textbook readings, hands-on course projects, and instructors. There were also genderdifferences in value of sources, with women valuing departmental information sessions morethan men, and men valuing departmental websites more than women. Overall the process ofmajor selection correlates well with the happenstance theory of Krumboltz.
Griffin, O. H., & Griffin, S. J. (2011, June), Consideration of Happenstance Theory in Major Selection and Migration in a Large Engineering Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17657
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015