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Self-Efficacy Development in Students in a Declared Engineering Matriculation Structure

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Metacognition, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation #2

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First-Year Programs

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Racheida S. Lewis University of Georgia Orcid 16x16

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Racheida S. Lewis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia in the Engineering Education Transformations Institute (EETI) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She has been recognized as a Gates Millennium Scholar, GEM Associate Fellow, New Horizon Scholar, and a 2019 inductee into the Bouchet Honor Society. She completed her doctoral work at Virginia Tech where she focused on the impact matriculation structures have on self-efficacy development in electrical and computer engineering students. As well, she received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia respectively. Racheida believes in creating a diverse engineering field and strives to do so through connecting with teaching, and mentoring future engineers. She has devoted her life to this mission through her leadership and lifetime membership in the National Society of Black Engineers. Ultimately, Racheida aspires to bridge together research and pedagogy within the academy to improve engineering education within the field and across disciplines.

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Holly M. Matusovich is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. She is current the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs and the former Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and practice related to graduate student mentoring. She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, was nominated for a Graduate Advising Award in 2015, and won the 2018 Graduate Student Mentor Award for the College of Engineering. Dr. Matusovich has graduated 10 doctoral students since starting her research program in Spring 2009. Dr. Matusovich co-hosts the Dissertation Institute, a one-week workshop each summer funded by NSF, to help underrepresented students develop the skills and writing habits to complete doctorate degrees in engineering. Across all of her research avenues, Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 12 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award with her share of funding be ingnearly $2.3 million. She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 21 journal publications and more than 70 conference papers. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty, an Outstanding Teacher Award and a Faculty Fellow Award. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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This complete research examines self-efficacy development in a declared first-year engineering program. First-year engineering (FYE) programs have grown dramatically over the last 30 years and take a variety of different structures. However, few if any, researchers and FYE program developers have considered how matriculation structure impacts persistence, particularly as it pertains to specific disciplines. Using a qualitative approach, this study is a secondary analysis of self-efficacy development in a declared engineering (DE) first-year program. Prior research has shown that students’ self-efficacy is key in retention, particularly as it pertains to engineering. These previous works have explored self-efficacy in engineering students at various stages in the engineering curriculum, including the first year. However, since much of the previous work on competence beliefs broadly and specifically self-efficacy in first-year engineering has been conducted with students in general engineering (GE) matriculation structures (e.g., Hutchinson-Green, Jones et al., etc.), this paper is an exploratory qualitative study of how students in a declared engineering (DE) matriculation structure describe their self-efficacy development. Some engineering programs directly admit students into a specific sub-discipline of engineering and offer sub-discipline-specific first-year programs. Others admit students as general engineering majors and offer generalized first-year programs that include all engineering majors together (Chen 2014). These students will be referred to as declared engineering (DE) students and general engineering (GE) students respectively. While not a direct comparison to previous work with GE students, this exploratory study provided initial insights regarding the extent to which the experiences of DE students correspond to findings from previous work with GE students. Using data collected from the NSF funded project “A Mixed-Methods Study of the Effects of First-Year Project Pedagogies on the Retention and Career Plans of Women in Engineering,” (Jones, Ruff, & Paretti, 2013; Matusovich, Jones, Paretti, Moore, & Hunter, 2011) this secondary analysis of data addresses the research question, How do engineering students from a declared first-year matriculation structure develop engineering self-efficacy, through first-level and pattern coding methods (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2013). This study resulted in findings that demonstrate that students in a DE matriculation structure develop self-efficacy in the same manner as GE students do as reported by Hutchison-Green et al. (2006, 2008). Some aspects of this study had slightly different findings than Hutchison-Green et al.’s. Reasons for this may be due to the fact that the interview protocol used for the original study was designed using expectancy-value as the theoretical framework as opposed to self-efficacy which is a limitation of this study. While this study was fruitful in exploring self-efficacy development in DE students, additional work to explore self-efficacy development across types of FYE matriculation structures (DE vs. GE) and within the same engineering major, may provide an understanding of engineering self-efficacy within the context of a discipline and add to the discussion around the relationship between motivation and retention. With that said, future work will explore self-efficacy development in students from both DE and GE matriculation structures within one engineering discipline.

Lewis, R. S., & Matusovich, H. M. (2020, June), Self-Efficacy Development in Students in a Declared Engineering Matriculation Structure Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35183

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