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Relationship Between Goal Orientation, Agency, and Motivation in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Students

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Motivation, Goal Orientation, Identity, and Career Aspirations

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37655

Download Count

19

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Paper Authors

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Robert M. O'Hara Clemson University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7004-0487

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Robert is a doctoral candidate in the learning sciences program at Clemson University. His research interests lie at the intersection of structured learning environments, sense of belonging, and academic confidence in undergraduate engineering students. A focus is placed on the reciprocal interaction between psychological processes and behaviors in these students and how they change over time based on classroom environments and lived experiences. Prior to starting the Learning Sciences program, Robert, worked as a student affairs professional in higher education focusing on residential curriculum, social justice advocacy and awareness, and Intergroup Dialogue.

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa Benson is a Professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, and the Editor of the Journal of Engineering Education. Her research focuses on the interactions between student motivation and their learning experiences. Her projects focus on student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers and scientists, development of problem solving skills, self-regulated learning, and epistemic beliefs. She earned a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

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Jennifer Harper Ogle Clemson University

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Dr. Jennifer Ogle is a Professor in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University and a 2005 graduate of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her research focuses on transportation infrastructure design, safety, accessibility, and management. She also works on research with faculty in engineering education as the facilitator for the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) grant at Clemson. As a first-generation student and the first tenured female in her department, Dr. Ogle is an advocate for justice, equity, and inclusion in Civil Engineering. In 2012, she was recognized by President Obama as a Champion of Change for Women in STEM.

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Candice W. Bolding Clemson University

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Candice is currently the Undergraduate Student Services Manager in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering and a doctoral student in the learning sciences program at Clemson University. She acts as a support to undergraduate students in areas such as advising, programming, and registration. She also serves as the advisor to the Civil Engineering Student Advisory Council, which provides a voice for undergraduate students in the program. She also supervises department outreach. She currently sits on the department's Diversity and Outreach Committee and is a liaison for the department to the Office of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the college. Her doctoral work is centered on exploring systemic/institutional factors impacting the psychosocial and academic outcomes of students experiencing marginalization in post-secondary STEM programs.

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Abstract

Understanding the underlying psychological constructs that affect undergraduate engineering students’ academic achievement and persistence can inform curricular and programmatic changes in engineering education, with the goal of increasing access and advancement in engineering for a diverse population of students. As part of a larger study examining student experiences in a civil engineering department undergoing curricular and cultural changes, this quantitative study investigated the relationship between goal orientation, agency, and time-oriented motivation, differences in this relationship across academic years, and potential influences from personality types. The larger project seeks to examine the motivation, identity, and sense of belonging for undergraduate civil engineering students; this paper seeks to construct a conceptual model explaining the interactive nature of some of these constructs. A previously tested and established survey that draws from multiple theories of motivation and other affective factors such as agency and identity, and that includes Big 5 personality constructs, was used to collect data from second, third-and fourth-year civil engineering students over a two-year period. Prior studies have focused on the instrument’s latent constructs with sense of belonging. However, no analysis has been conducted to examine how some of the constructs influence each other. Specific latent constructs of goal orientation, agency (students’ beliefs that their career in science or engineering can lead to positive effects on the world), FTP, and personality were selected for secondary data analysis based on theory presented in the literature about relationships between motivation, goal setting, agency, and student perceptions of their future. The sample size of respondents was 843; data cleaning and deletion of missing data (65cases; 7.7%) resulted in a final sample size of 778(92.3% of the original data). This included328 second year, 294 third year and 156 fourth year students. Statistical analyses and modeling included bivariate correlational analysis, MANOVA and MANCOVA. Results indicated significant correlation between goal orientation, agency, and time-oriented motivation. Furthermore, differences in these constructs between academic years and personality type influenced the relationship. FTP differed between sophomores and seniors, with seniors having higher scores, suggesting motivation increases as time in the program increases. Personality significantly influenced these relationships in different ways but had the strongest effect on agency. The findings that certain types of people are not only motivated to go into civil engineering but believe their major will make a difference in the world, have implications for educational practice. Results align with current literature but also shed light onto the effects of personality on time-oriented motivation and agency, expanding theory in engineering education. Further research is needed to determine if the effects of personality hold true for other engineering and science majors.

O'Hara, R. M., & Benson, L., & Ogle, J. H., & Bolding, C. W. (2021, July), Relationship Between Goal Orientation, Agency, and Motivation in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37655

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