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Title:First year engineering students’ perceptions of engineering
Author(s):Bays-Muchmore, Marigold
Advisor(s):Chronopoulous, Alexandra
Department / Program:Industrial&Enterprise Sys Eng
Discipline:Industrial Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Engineering Education
Engineering Identity
Student Perceptions
First Year Engineering Students
Engineering Experiences
Abstract:Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has steadily drawn increasingly larger incoming classes of students. With a significant population and a diverse number of programs, these freshmen will be entering a unique engineering culture. This study sought to understand the perspectives and experiences of the students in regards to their engineering identity as they entered the university in the Fall of 2017, and after they had completed their first semester of engineering. Differences in perceptions among demographics such as gender, ethnicity, and the different engineering majors were also examined. Two surveys were administered to a population of 1986 freshman engineers within the first month of their first and second semesters. The surveys contained questions pertaining to the students’ perceived understanding of and confidence in engineering, as well as their reasons for pursuing engineering. Common perceptions of engineering qualities and responsibilities, as well as shifts in those perceptions, were also assessed. Results demonstrated that students across all majors were confident in their ability to succeed, but female students reported lower levels of confidence than male students, both when first entering the University and after their first semester of college. Within the various engineering majors and programs themselves, there were differences in satisfaction levels. Students who were not in their first choice major were less likely to agree with being happy in their field or intending to stay in their major. However, overall the participants rated themselves as having a good understanding of engineering and planning to stay within engineering as a realm. Descriptors for engineers that were most commonly selected included ‘Practical’ and ‘Analytical’ while less commonly selected were ‘Artistic’ and ‘Kind’. While there were differences in levels of agreement on the impact of various experiences such as meeting with an academic advisor or failing a test, paper or project, the overall agreement on experience effects allowed for an understanding of the development of freshman engineering identity at the University of Illinois.
Issue Date:2018-04-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Marigold Bays-Muchmore
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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