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Improving Industrial Engineering Career Efficacy Through Introductory Course Design

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

IE and the Classroom

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.697.1 - 15.697.8



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Paper Authors

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Lesley Strawderman Mississippi State University

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Laura Ruff Mississippi State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Improving Industrial Engineering Career Efficacy through Introductory Course Design


This study seeks to further examine self-efficacy beliefs of engineering students beyond their first-year experience. Specifically, this study focuses on career efficacy, or student perceptions of their ability to succeed in a particular career field. A 41-question survey was distributed to undergraduate Industrial Engineering students in the United States. The survey was divided into four parts: student information, career efficacy, course information, and course evaluations. Recruitment for the survey was sent via email, and 231 students submitted complete and usable responses. Results demonstrated that discipline-specific introductory courses led to significantly higher levels of career efficacy when compared to general introductory courses. Additionally, junior and senior level students reported significantly higher levels of career efficacy than lower level students, as did those who were highly satisfied with their introductory course experience. Implications and guidelines based on these results for the design of introductory courses in Industrial Engineering are discussed. Introduction

Undergraduate students, upon selecting a major, often take an introductory course that allows them to determine the suitability of their chosen field. Within Industrial Engineering, introductory courses are commonly taught within the Industrial Engineering department, focusing on discipline-specific topics and information. Other programs offer introductory courses on a college-wide level, introducing students to the various fields of engineering. Course content and delivery method also varies between programs.

Student self efficacy is a demonstrated and valid predictor of student success. Students who possess higher levels of self efficacy are more successful, while the inverse is also true. While the direction of the relationship is up for debate (e.g. does efficacy cause success or does success cause efficacy), as educators we strive to help students achieve both self efficacy and success. The purpose of many introductory courses is to help students succeed in their chosen academic program, as well as prepare them for a career in their chosen field. Therefore, the examination of students’ career efficacy is critical when evaluating introductory courses. Career efficacy measures a student’s beliefs regarding their aptitude for success in their chosen career field. A beneficial and well designed introductory course should provide students with increased career efficacy. Literature Review

As retention rates of students in engineering majors continue to decline, introductory courses have become a common component of many undergraduate engineering programs. Several studies have examined the effectiveness of various types of introductory courses. Hoit et al. showed that the conversion of a lecture-based multidisciplinary introductory course to a laboratory-based course that engaged students in “hand-on” activities for each undergraduate engineering discipline resulted in significant improvements to retention in engineering1. A

Strawderman, L., & Ruff, L. (2010, June), Improving Industrial Engineering Career Efficacy Through Introductory Course Design Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15979

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: © 2010 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