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Exploring the Relationship Between Students’ Engineering Identity and Leadership Self-Efficacy

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Advancing Research on Engineering Leaders’ Confidence, Careers, and Styles

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32817

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32817

Download Count

212

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Paper Authors

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William J. Schell IV P.E. Montana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8626-1671

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William J. Schell holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering – Engineering Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Industrial and Management Engineering from Montana State University (MSU). He is Associate Professor in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and Associate Director of the Montana Engineering Education Research Center at MSU with research interests in engineering education and the role of leadership and culture in process improvement. His research is supported by the NSF and industry and has received numerous national and international awards. He is an elected Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Management and serves as an Associate Editor for both the Engineering Management Journal and Quality Approaches in Higher Education. Prior to his academic career, Schell spent 14 years in industry where he held leadership positions focused on process improvement and organizational development.

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Bryce E. Hughes Montana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9414-394X

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Bryce E. Hughes is an Assistant Professor in Adult and Higher Education at Montana State University, and affiliate faculty member with the Montana Engineering Education Research Center. He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.A. in Student Development Administration from Seattle University, and a B.S. in General Engineering from Gonzaga University. His research interests include teaching and learning in engineering, STEM education policy, and diversity and equity in STEM.

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Brett Tallman P.E. Montana State University

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Brett Tallman is currently a Doctoral student in Engineering at Montana State University (MSU), with focus on engineering leadership. His previous degrees include a Masters degree in Education from MSU (active learning in an advanced quantum mechanics environment) and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell. Prior to his academic career, he worked in the biotech (Lead Engineer), product design, and automotive (Toyota) sectors for 14 years, and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He has also taught high school and attended seminary. You can find more of his engineering education work at educadia.org or on his YouTube channel.

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Emma Annand Montana State University

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Emma Annand is striving for a B.S. in Industrial and Management System Engineering at Montana State University – Bozeman. Emma is a research assistant for MSU's NSF supported engineering leadership identity development project. She is also the fundraising team lead for MSU's chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB@MSU). Over the summer of 2018, Emma traveled with EWB@MSU to Khwisero, Kenya to implement a borehole well at a primary school there. During the summer of 2019, Emma will once again travel to Khwisero – this time to assess for a structure at a secondary school.

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Romy M. Beigel Montana State University

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Romy Beigel is a senior at Montana State University pursuing a B.S. in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and a B.A. in Honor's Liberal Studies. Romy is a member of IISE, Alpha Pi Mu, and the Montana State Women in Engineering Advisory Board. Her previous professional experience includes an internship with The Boeing Company and undergraduate research work with the Space Science and Engineering Lab at Montana State.

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Monika B Kwapisz Montana State University

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Monika Kwapisz (they/them) is an undergraduate at Montana State University studying Industrial and Management Systems Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. Monika is the president of MSU's chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), a cross-country ski coach, and an avid outdoors-person.

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Abstract

In order to lead the social process required to solve society’s grandest challenges and ensure that the capabilities of an expanded engineering workforce are successfully harnessed, new engineers must be more than just technical experts, they must also be technical leaders. Thankfully, greater numbers of engineering educators are recognizing this need and are consequently establishing engineering leadership certificates, minors, and even full degree programs through centers at universities throughout the country. However, for these programs to reach their full potential, engineering educators must be successful in integrating leadership into the very identity of engineers. This study seeks to better understand the relationship between engineering identity and leadership, so tools can be developed that enable engineering educators to more effectively integrate leadership into an engineering identity.

This paper explores this relationship using a national sample of 918 engineering students who participated in the 2013 College Senior Survey (CSS). The CSS is administered by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA to college students at the end of their fourth year of college; data from the CSS are then matched to students’ prior responses on the 2009 Freshman Survey (TFS), which was administered when they first started college, to create a longitudinal sample. Using a leadership construct developed by HERI as the outcome variable, this work utilizes Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) to examine the impact of engineering identity and a host of other factors shown to be important in college student development on leadership. HLM is especially appropriate since individual student cases are grouped by schools, and predictor variables include both student-level and institution-level variables. The leadership construct, referred to as leadership self-efficacy in this work, includes self-rated growth in leadership ability, self-rating of leadership ability relative to one’s peers, participation in a leadership role and/or leadership training, and perceived effectiveness leading an organization.

The primary independent variable of interest was a factor measuring engineering identity comprised of items available on both the TFS and CSS instruments. Including this measure of engineering identity from two different time periods in the model provides the relationship between engineering identity in the fourth year and leadership self-efficacy, controlling for engineering identity in the first year as a pretest. Statistically significant results were found across each of the areas tested, including the fourth-year engineering identity factor as well as several collegiate experiences, pre-college experiences, major, and institutional variables. Taken together, these results present a nuanced picture of what matters to predicting leadership outcomes for undergraduate engineering students. For example, while engineering identity is a significant positive predictor of the leadership construct, computer engineers score lower than mechanical engineers on leadership, while interacting with faculty appears to enhance leadership self-efficacy.

Schell, W. J., & Hughes, B. E., & Tallman, B., & Annand, E., & Beigel, R. M., & Kwapisz, M. B. (2019, June), Exploring the Relationship Between Students’ Engineering Identity and Leadership Self-Efficacy Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32817

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