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Understanding the Demands and Resources for Academic Success of Second-career Undergraduate Engineering Students as Compared to Traditional Undergraduate and Graduate Engineering Students

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Experiences of Underrepresented Students in Engineering

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

29

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35430

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35430

Download Count

206

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Paper Authors

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Oleksandr Kravchenko Old Dominion University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8573-7540

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Dr. Kravchenko is working in the area of structural analysis with focus on composite materials for various engineering applications. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University and completed two years of postdoc from Case-Western Reserve University. Dr. Kravchenko is actively collaborating with his colleagues at ODU on understanding the key elements of academic success for non-traditional, second-career, engineering students.

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Konstantin Cigularov Old Dominion University

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Dr. Konstantin Cigularov is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in the College of Sciences at Old Dominion University. He holds a Ph.D. from Colorado State University in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and a B.S. in Banking and Finance from the University of Economics in Bulgaria. As the Director of the Leadership and Employee Assessment and Development Research Lab, Dr. Cigularov has investigated various organizational issues related to leadership and culture, employee burnout and stress, as well as training programs and interventions. Dr. Cigularov has extensive experience with program design and evaluation and he has consulted numerous organizations, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, on designing, evaluating, and disseminating effective interventions and training programs. He has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, which he uses to better understand and help organizations create and engender safer, healthier, and more fulfilling workplaces. Dr. Cigularov has conducted numerous needs assessments of targeted student populations, including medical residents, STEM students, transfer students, graduate students in sciences, and second career engineering students.

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Phillip Dillulio Old Dominion University

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Phil Dillulio is a 5th year Industrial - Organizational Psychology doctoral student at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Abstract

Environmental and personal demands and resources can significantly affect the academic success and degree persistence rates of engineering students. The present study adopted a demands and resources conceptual framework to identify and compare the most critical demands and resources, both internal and external, for academic success and well-being of traditional and second career undergraduate students, as well as graduate engineering students. Participants in the current study were 342 engineering students, who completed an anonymous, online survey with 57 items for a 17.1% response rate. They were predominantly white (63.4%) and male (73.4%), with an average age of 25.85 years old (SD = 8.2). Traditional undergraduate engineering students represented 59% (n = 200) of the sample; 26% (n = 90) were graduate engineering students, and 15% (n = 52) met the criteria of second career undergraduate engineering students. Second career undergraduate engineering students were operationalized as currently enrolled undergraduate engineering students, who, before starting their engineering studies, reported coming from one or more of the following: a) military, b) vocational / technical school, c) full-time job, d) part-time job, or e) another academic major at ODU. Internal demands were measured with eight variables consisting of 26 items, while external demands were measured with eight variables comprised of 34 total items. Internal and external resources were measured with four (8 items) and three (13 items) variables, respectively. Student outcomes were measured with seven variables comprised of 12 items. Results showed that compared to second career undergraduate engineering students and graduate engineering students, traditional undergraduate engineering students reported significantly higher average levels of internal demands (e.g., performance avoidance goal orientation, procrastination, time management difficulties, difficulties paying attention, lack of persistence, and poor mental health) and external demands (e.g., academic demands, administrative demands, lack of campus resources, inadequate faculty support, school related financial demands, and other students / classmates). Second career undergraduate engineering students reported significantly higher levels of demands outside of school, such as lack of childcare, work interfering with school, and family responsibilities, compared to the other two groups. Compared to traditional undergraduate engineering students and graduate engineering students, second career undergraduate engineering students reported significantly higher levels of self-efficacy. On the other hand, second career undergraduate engineering students tended to utilize administrative and campus resources less frequently. Finally, traditional undergraduate engineering students reported significantly higher levels of school burnout and lower levels of current and expected GPA than the other two groups, all undesirable outcomes. Taken together, these results suggest that different populations of engineering students may have different needs, experience different barriers, and benefit from different types of supports and resources. Our findings offer practical guidance to administrators and educators in engineering for developing and implementing effective programmatic efforts and supportive academic environments.

Kravchenko, O., & Cigularov, K., & Dillulio, P. (2020, June), Understanding the Demands and Resources for Academic Success of Second-career Undergraduate Engineering Students as Compared to Traditional Undergraduate and Graduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35430

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