Asee peer logo

Examination of Future Construction Career Role Preferences and Identities of Construction Students

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Construction Division Technical Session 4: Capstone, Safety and Beyond

Tagged Division

Construction Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Dorail F. Porter Associated General Contractors

visit author page

Undergraduate Construction Management student attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Executive Board member on the NCAT chapter of Associated General Contractors of America .
Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Built Environmental Program

visit author page


Andrea Nana Ofori-Boadu North Carolina A&T State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Andrea Ofori-Boadu is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Built Environment at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Dr. Ofori-Boadu has over twenty years of relevant occupational experience in construction technology/management (industry), teaching, research and service. Dr. Ofori-Boadu has served in various capacities on research and service projects, including Principal Investigator for two most recent grants from the Engineering Information Foundation (EIF) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
In 2017, Dr. Ofori-Boadu received both the College of Science and Technology (CoST) Rookie Research Excellence Award and the North Carolina A & T State University (NCAT) Rookie Research Excellence Award. She also received the Teaching Excellence Award for the Department of Built Environment. Under her mentorship, Dr. Ofori-Boadu’s students have presented 10 research posters at various NCAT Undergraduate Research Symposia resulting in her receiving a 2017 Certificate of Recognition for Undergraduate Research Mentoring. She was also selected as a 2018 National Science Foundation - NC A & T ADVANCE IT Faculty Scholar. Her primary research engagements have been in bio-modified cement pastes, sustainable construction, and STEM education. She has received over $170,000 to support her teaching, research, and outreach projects. Overall, Dr. Ofori-Boadu’s research work has resulted in 1 book publication, 13 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 5 conference proceedings, 2 accepted manuscripts (in-press), 3 manuscripts under review, 29 presentations at national conferences, and 27 poster sessions. In 2016, her publication was recognized by the Built Environment Project and Asset Management Journal as the 2016 Highly Commended Paper. In 2015, Dr. Ofori-Boadu established her STEM ACTIVATED! program for middle-school girls in Guilford county. She has also worked with the STEM of the Triad home-schooled children at Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2017, Dr. Ofori-Boadu established the REAL Professional Development Network for developing the leadership, networking, and other soft skills of undergraduate students at NCAT. Dr. Andrea Ofori-Boadu also serves as the Executive Vice-President of Penuel Consult, Incorporated. Dr. Ofori-Boadu is married to Victor Ofori-Boadu and they have been blessed with three wonderful children.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Abstract Considering that the construction industry is a broad field with many different roles and responsibilities, the purpose of this research study was to examine construction students’ rationale for their future construction career role preferences so that construction educators can better prepare them for these roles. This study draws from previous research work and theories associated with self-interests and career identities. Engaging construction students in well-designed academic work that contributes to their preferred career roles in construction industry could increase their motivation to excel, their career identity formation, their academic success, and their smooth transitions into their preferred career roles upon graduation. The main reason for these positive outcomes would be because their academic work would line up better with their self-interests. It is therefore very important that construction educators align their curricula content so that it better prepares students for their preferred career roles. The first step in this process would be to gain insights into the preferred roles of current students. Consequently, the objectives of this research were to identify students’ career role preferences and the factors influencing their preferences; examine students’ reasons for pursuing construction education; and discuss students’ recommendations for construction education program improvements to better prepare them for their future roles in the construction industry. A self-reporting survey was administered to 42 students enrolled in the construction program at an HBCU. With a 1-10 rating structure, students indicated their preference for each role by assigning a number (rating) to that role. The Mean Preferred Career Role Score (MPCRS) for each listed role was calculated to determine students’ most preferred career roles. With the open-ended survey items, students had the opportunity to discuss the underlying reasons for their career role preferences and recommend construction education program improvements. Informal discussions with some selected students provided additional insights. Key findings indicated that future construction career role preferences were: (a) Project Manager (MPCRS = 8); (b) Superintendent (MPCRS = 7); (c) Real Estate Developer and Graduate Student (MPCRS = 6); and (d) Estimator / Inspector (MPCRS = 5). The reasons construction students gave for preferring the project manager and superintendent roles included high salaries, opportunity to lead, love for authority, prior experiences, internships, role models, management skills, hands on work, and working outdoors. The study showed that key reasons for students’ pursuit of a CM degree included hands-on work, prior experience in the construction field, and a genuine interest or love for construction. Through surveys and informal discussions, students agreed that to better prepare them for their preferred roles, undergraduate construction programs should endeavor to allocate more resources to enhancing the following: course availability and variety; challenging projects; hands-on activities, innovative teaching methods, well-designed mentoring programs, collaboration with industry partners, internships, field trips, workshops, residential construction knowledge and experiences, and extracurricular activities. Findings from this study provide insights that may be used to guide curriculum development, student advisement, and better preparation of construction students so that they can excel in their preferred roles in the construction industry.

Porter, D. F., & Ofori-Boadu, A. N. (2018, June), Examination of Future Construction Career Role Preferences and Identities of Construction Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30463

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: © 2018 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