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The Effect of Contextual Support in the First Year on Self-Efficacy in Undergraduate Engineering Programs

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD IX: Research on First-Year Programs and Students, Part II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

22.1445.1 - 22.1445.14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--18697

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18697

Download Count

135

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Paper Authors

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Rachelle Reisberg Northeastern University

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Rachelle Reisberg is Director of Women in Engineering at Northeastern University. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rice University. She was President of a start-up software company before joining Northeastern.

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Joseph A. Raelin Northeastern University

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Joe Raelin is an internationally-recognized scholar in the fields of work-based learning and leadership. He holds the Asa. S. Knowles Chair of Practice-Oriented Education at Northeastern University in Boston. He is author of the just released "Leaderful Fieldbook: Strategies for Developing Leadership in Everyone."

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Margaret B. Bailey Rochester Institute of Technology

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Margaret Bailey is Professor of Mechanical Engineering within the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at RIT and is the Founding Executive Director for the nationally recognized women in engineering program called WE@RIT. She recently accepted the role as Faculty Associate to the Provost for Female Faculty and serves as the co-chair on the President’s Commission on Women. She began her academic career as an Assistant Professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, being the first woman civilian faculty member in her department. Margaret maintains a research program in the area of advanced thermodynamic analyses and health monitoring of energy intensive systems.

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Jerry Carl Hamann University of Wyoming

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Jerry is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department Head of Computer Science at the University of Wyoming. He has worked for several years with programs to introduce K-12 teachers and students to technical professions. His research interests also include applied signal processing and robotics.

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David L. Whitman University of Wyoming

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David L. Whitman received the B.S. degree (1975) in EE from the University of Wyoming. He also received the Ph.D. degree (1978) in Mineral Engineering from the University of Wyoming. He worked in the synthetic fuels arena prior to becoming a faculty member in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Wyoming in 1981. From 1989 to 2005, he was the Associate Dean of Academics and since 2005 has been a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received UW's College of Engineering Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1990 and 2004 and the ASEE Rocky Mountain Section Outstanding Teaching Award in 2001. He is currently the Past President of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES), chairman of the IEEE-USA Licensure & Registration Committee and an active member of ASEE.

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Leslie K. Pendleton Virginia Tech

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Dr. Pendleton is the Director of Student Services in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Also an instructor, she teaches courses in engineering ethics, communications, and professionalism as well as courses in the Women's & Gender Studies program. She has extensive academic and career advising experience and experience with planning and implementation of summer programs for high school students and mentoring programs for first-year students from underrepresented groups.

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Abstract

The Effect of Contextual Support on Self Efficacy in 1st Year Undergraduate Engineering ProgramsAbstractThis study, completed in the 2009-2010 academic year, is part of a larger researchproject supported by the National Science Foundation. Over the past year,engineering students completed an in-class, written 96-item survey at the start oftheir sophomore year, thus their responses were reflections on their first yearexperiences. The total number of respondents was 1,638 students, representing aresponse rate of 67% of the total engineering sophomore population across fouruniversities.This paper reports on the effect of contextual support, controlling fordemographic characteristics, on three dimensions of self efficacy: academic,career, and work. Contextual support is defined as the encouragement provided tostudents through both institutional means, such as financial aid, mentorship, andparticipation in first year living/learning communities, and through modeling andconversation. The latter instance represents the messages that parents, faculty,role models, and peers convey to students about their efficacy for performingdifferent tasks or the career choice encouragement (or discouragement) thatstudents obtain from influential significant others.The analysis revealed that social support from friends, family, college, and facultyfurnish a powerful and independent impact on efficacy over and abovedemographic qualities. The only demographic characteristic that preceded socialsupport as an explanation of self-efficacy was the impact of academicperformance (GPA) on academic self-efficacy. Otherwise, social supportfurnished the most significant explanations of work, career, and academic self-efficacy after the first year in undergraduate engineering.Among the demographic variables, besides GPA noted above, males were foundto have higher initial academic self-efficacy, a finding long established in theliterature, though this study will determine if women catch up over the course oftheir college career After the first year, chemical engineering students reported thehighest academic self-efficacy. Those in the upper socioeconomic strata alongwith aerospace majors reported high career self-efficacy. Finally, older students,as might be expected, had the highest initial work self-efficacy. This paper willpresent the background, conceptual framework, and methodology of the study aswell as the results to date with recommendations / implications for first yearprograms.

Reisberg, R., & Raelin, J. A., & Bailey, M. B., & Hamann, J. C., & Whitman, D. L., & Pendleton, L. K. (2011, June), The Effect of Contextual Support in the First Year on Self-Efficacy in Undergraduate Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18697

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