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Creative Self-Efficacy of Undergraduate Women Engineering Majors

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

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Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Christine Delahanty Bucks County Community College Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Delahanty is the Area Coordinator of Science and Engineering, and Professor of Engineering and Physics at Bucks County Community College (Bucks). She worked as an electrical engineer at General Electric Co. for nine years in both military and commercial communication satellite operations. Her research interests include investigating creativity within STEM education as a factor in cultivating diversity. She establishes technical, college level, programs of study for modernized classroom and laboratory curricula including online course platforms, and integrated technologies. She has been involved in both private and government grants as author and project director, and is currently PI of an NSF ATE grant, "Increasing the Number of Engineering Technicians in Southeastern Pennsylvania." A major goal of this collaborative effort with Drexel University is to connect for-credit, occupational technician education to workforce development certification programs. She was the faculty advisor to two student teams that made the final round of the NSF AACC Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) in 2016 and 2017. She and her students have been involved in STEM related outreach to local community groups and K-12 schools.

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Jason Silverman Drexel University

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Jason Silverman PhD’s research interests include mathematics teacher education and supporting the pedagogical development of pre-service STEM teachers. His current work focuses on the role of mathematical understandings in teachers' instructional practice, understanding how technology, collaboration, and community can support teaching and learning, supporting teachers' integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and better understanding and capitalizing on the commonalities between undergraduate and K-12 STEM education.

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Creative Self-Efficacy of Undergraduate Women Engineering Majors Creative self-efficacy (CSE) was studied in connection to beliefs about creativity. CSE is one’s belief in their own creative potential. The belief that creativity can improve was discussed as a “Growth Creativity Mindset” (GCM), and the belief that creativity cannot improve was discussed as a “Fixed Creativity Mindset” (FCM). Creativity within engineering has been described as crucial to the field, and as an aspect that is appealing to women engineers. Undergraduate women engineering students local to the Philadelphia area volunteered to take a survey of CSE and beliefs about creativity. Quantitative data analysis showed that an increase in GCM likely results in an increase in CSE for students with higher than average GPA. A change in CSE had no effect on FCM. Interviews were conducted with 15 survey respondents with different levels of CSE who met criteria for success in the engineering major (2.5 GPA or above and successful completion of calculus II). Synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative data revealed that interview participants had similar lived experiences that lead them to a level of success in the engineering major, but different lived experiences that distinguished them with respect to CSE level. All participants were exposed to project based learning (PBL), had strong personal influences, exhibited perseverance in overcoming struggles, and described their negative perceptions of engineering before entering the major. Participants with all levels of CSE highlighted their own creativity with respect to the performing and visual arts, before reflecting on innovation as creative. Most participants with low CSE described their lack of creativity in the arts. They also discussed being “intimidated” by negative classroom experiences more than their peers with higher levels of CSE. Those with low CSE were also exposed to more engineering centered experiences in high school, and most had a parent who worked in the profession. It is expected that this research will provide a more comprehensive understanding of CSE, perceptions of engineering as a creative field, and the educational reform needed that connects creativity to engineering in an atmosphere that welcomes diversity.

Delahanty, C., & Silverman, J. (2021, July), Creative Self-Efficacy of Undergraduate Women Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36877

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