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Extracurricular College Activities Fostering Students' Innovation Self-efficacy

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Carolin Christin Dungs Stanford University

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Carolin Dungs studied Sports Science and Human Factors Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. As Visiting Student Researcher at the Designing Education Lab at Stanford University she researched on the fostering students' Career Interests in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

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Sheri Sheppard Stanford University

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Sheri D. Sheppard, Ph.D., P.E., is professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. Besides teaching both undergraduate and graduate design and education related classes at Stanford University, she conducts research on engineering education and work-practices, and applied finite element analysis. From 1999-2008 she served as a Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, leading the Foundation’s engineering study (as reported in Educating Engineers: Designing for the Future of the Field). In addition, in 2011 Dr. Sheppard was named as co-PI of a national NSF innovation center (Epicenter), and leads an NSF program at Stanford on summer research experiences for high school teachers. Her industry experiences includes engineering positions at Detroit's "Big Three:" Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, and Chrysler Corporation.

At Stanford she has served a chair of the faculty senate, and recently served as Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

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Helen L. Chen Stanford University

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Helen L. Chen is a research scientist in the Designing Education Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of ePortfolio Initiatives in the Office of the Registrar at Stanford University. Chen earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA and her Ph.D. in Communication with a minor in Psychology from Stanford University in 1998. Her current research interests include: 1) engineering and entrepreneurship education; 2) the pedagogy of ePortfolios and reflective practice in higher education; and 3) reimagining the traditional academic transcript.

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This study examines the relationship between participation in extracurricular college activities and its possible impact on students’ career interests in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This work draws from the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), focusing on Innovation self-efficacy and how it may be impacted by participation in various extracurricular college activities. The term self-efficacy as developed by Bandura is defined as “people’s judgment of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances”. Innovation self-efficacy is a variable consisting of six items that correspond to Dyer’s five discovery skills seen as important for innovative behavior. In order to analyze the relationship between participation in certain activities and innovation self-efficacy the twenty activities asked for in question twelve of the EMS survey where grouped thematically according to their involvement of entrepreneurship related topics. On the other side students were divided into two groups using K-means cluster analysis according to their innovation self-efficacy (ISE.6) score. Cluster one (C1) contains the students with higher ISE.6 scores, Cluster two (C2) are the students with lower innovation self-efficacy scores. This preliminary research focuses on descriptive analyses, also looking at different background characteristics as gender, academic status and underrepresented minority status (URM). Results show that students in C1 (high ISE.6) are showing significantly more interest in starting an organization (78.1%) in comparison to C2 (21.9%) (X²=81.11, p=.000, Cramer’s V= .124). At the same time male students are showing significantly higher ISE.6 scores (M=66.70, SD=17.53) than female students (M=66.70, SD=17.53) t(5192)=-5.220 p=. 000 and report more intention to start an organization than female students (15% and 6.1 % respectively). Cluster affiliation and therefore also the innovation self-efficacy score as well as gender seem to play a role when looking at career interest in entrepreneurship. According to the SCCT theory self-efficacy is influenced by learning experiences. In this work activities referring to hands-on activities in entrepreneurship and innovation are most correlated with ISE.6 (r=.206, p=.000), followed by non-hands-on exposure to entrepreneurship and innovation. At the same time hands-on activities in entrepreneurship and innovation are least participated in, where students in C1 participated almost twice as often (28.6%) as students in C2 (15.2%). Interestingly in C1 there is no gender difference in participation in hands-on activities in entrepreneurship and innovation. Overall female students (M=4.66, SD=2.5) participated in significantly more activities than male students (M=3.9, SD=2.64), t(5192)=9.65 p=.000. All in all these results reveal a first interesting insight into the benefits of taking part in innovation and entrepreneurship related activities for students’ innovation self-efficacy and their interest in such a career.

Dungs, C. C., & Sheppard, S., & Chen, H. L. (2017, June), Extracurricular College Activities Fostering Students' Innovation Self-efficacy Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28346

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