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Predicting The Academic Engagement Of Women And Students At Historically Black Universities

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Knowing Students: Diversity & Retention

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.934.1 - 8.934.10



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Paper Authors

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Janet Schmidt

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Greg Wilkins

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Clay Gloster

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Robert Lent

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Linda Schmidt

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

Session 2330

Predicting the Academic Engagement of Women and Students at

Historically Black Universities: A Social Cognitive Approach

Robert W. Lent, Janet A. Schmidt, & Linda C. Schmidt, University of Maryland, College Park/Clay S. Gloster, Howard University/ Gregory Wilkins, Morgan State University


We examined the utility of social cognitive career theory (SCCT) in predicting the academic persistence goals of (a) women versus men and of (b) students at historically Black versus predominantly White universities. Participants (487 students enrolled in introductory engineering courses at three universities) completed measures of SCCT’s central person (e.g., self-efficacy) and contextual (e.g., social support) variables. Findings indicated that the set of SCCT variables accounted for a large proportion of the variance in academic goals, regardless of student sex or university type. Implications for future research and for practical efforts to attract and retain women and students of color within engineering are discussed.


Social cognitive career theory4 (SCCT) is aimed at explaining the processes through which people develop basic academic and career-related interests, translate their interests into choices, and achieve performances of varying quality in their educational and occupational pursuits. Among its predictions, SCCT maintains that people develop interests in activities which they believe they can perform effectively and for which they anticipate receiving positive outcomes. (Beliefs about how well one can perform particular activities are referred to as “self-efficacy” beliefs; beliefs about the consequences of performing particular activities are termed “outcome expectations.”) The theory also holds that the academic and career choices that people make are influenced by their interests, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations, as well as by the environmental supports and barriers they have experienced, or expect to experience, in relation to particular choice alternatives.

SCCT has been attracting a good deal of inquiry in recent years 5. In a subset of studies

"Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering"

Schmidt, J., & Wilkins, G., & Gloster, C., & Lent, R., & Schmidt, L. (2003, June), Predicting The Academic Engagement Of Women And Students At Historically Black Universities Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12561

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