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The Contribution Of Office Hours Type Interactions To Female Student Satisfaction With The Educational Experience In Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Women in Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1268.1 - 10.1268.11



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Lancaster

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Teri Murphy

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Deborah Trytten

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

The contribution of office-hours-type interactions to female student satisfaction with the educational experience in engineering. Stephen M. Lancaster, Susan E. Walden, Deborah A. Trytten, Teri J. Murphy University of Oklahoma


Recent literature includes discussion about many female students’ need for a personal type of a professional, professor-student relationship to feel connected to the course and to a major.1,2 Our research builds on these findings to emphasize the importance of positive experiences during office hours to female students. We interviewed 41 students from the School of Industrial Engineering at the University of Oklahoma to analyze the unexpected success that this School has had in attracting and retaining female students. In our sample, female participants commented spontaneously on office-hours-type-interactions considerably more often than the males did (90 vs. 55 comments). Students of both genders reported many more positive experiences (56) than negative experiences (3) with IE faculty in particular. This suggests that the high quality of faculty-student interactions outside of class is likely to be one factor affecting the attainment of gender parity in this program.


P: If I could tell somebody one thing, that’s it [go to office hours]. Because all the other stuff is a give-me. I mean, yeah, study, yeah, go to class, duh. I mean (laughing) but the office hours and the professors, I don’t think people think of that. Because I, I didn’t do that when was it - probably those semesters I was struggling I didn’t go to office hours, you know. And I don’t know if there’s a direct relationship between when my grades started getting better and whenever I started camping out in the TAs office. I don’t know. [senior, female, industrial engineering major]

Interactions between students and faculty are the foundation of higher education. Students and faculty interactions within the classroom have been, and will continue to be, widely studied.3 Although out of class interactions have also been studied for several decades and likely play a significant role in students’ educational experience, they have been less studied than in-class interactions.

By office-hours-type interactions we mean interactions between students and faculty that occur outside of the confines of the classroom. While posted office hours are one example of this type of interaction, we also include informal interactions such as those that occur when faculty and students meet in the hall, or meetings in the office that occur at times apart from posted office hours. However, for brevity, we refer to all of these office-hours-type interactions as office Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Lancaster, S., & Walden, S., & Murphy, T., & Trytten, D. (2005, June), The Contribution Of Office Hours Type Interactions To Female Student Satisfaction With The Educational Experience In Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14225

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