There is little research or understanding of curricular differences between two- and four-year programs, career development of engineering technology (ET) students, and professional preparation for ET early career professionals . Yet, ET credentials (including certificates, two-, and four-year degrees) represent over half of all engineering credentials awarded in the U.S . ET professionals are important hands-on members of engineering teams who have specialized knowledge of components and engineering systems. This research study focuses on how career orientations affect engineering formation of ET students educated at two-year colleges. The theoretical framework guiding this study is Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). SCCT is a theory which situates attitudes, interests, and experiences and links self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and personal goals to educational and career decisions and outcomes . Student knowledge of attitudes toward and motivation to pursue STEM and engineering education can impact academic performance and indicate future career interest and participation in the STEM workforce . This knowledge may be measured through career orientations or career anchors. A career anchor is a combination of self-concept characteristics which includes talents, skills, abilities, motives, needs, attitudes, and values. Career anchors can develop over time and aid in shaping personal and career identity .more »
The Roots of Entrepreneurial Career Goals among Today’s Engineering Undergraduate Students.
This study examines the roots of entrepreneurial career goals among today’s U.S. undergraduate engineering students. Extensive literature exists on entrepreneurship education and on students’ career decision making, yet little work connects the two. To address this gap, we explore a sample of 5,819 undergraduate engineering students from a survey administered in 2015 to a nationally representative set of twenty-seven U.S. engineering schools. We identify how individual background measures, occupational learning experiences, and socio-cognitive measures such as self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and interest in innovation and entrepreneurship affect students’ entrepreneurial career focus. Based on career focus, the sample is split into “Starters” and “Joiners” where Starters are students who wish to start a new venture and Joiners are those who wish to join an existing venture. Results show the demographic, behavioral, and socio-cognitive characteristics of each group. Findings suggest that relative to Joiners, Starters have stronger occupational self-efficacy beliefs which are driven by higher interests in innovation-related activities and ascribing greater importance to involvement in innovation practices early in their careers. Additionally, the significant influence of particular learning experiences is discussed. These results have implications for engineering and entrepreneurship education. (This paper earned Best Research Paper Award, 3rd Place, in the ENT division.)
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, June 25-28. Columbus, OH.
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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