Collaborative Proposal: Pathways of Blacks and Hispanics in Engineering Education

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The study will seek to determine how Hispanic engineering undergraduate engineering majors at Hispanic Serving Institutions and Black undergraduate engineering majors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities make decisions about (a) remaining in engineering majors, (b) remaining in their original choice of institutions of higher education, and (c) attending graduate engineering programs. Based on Vincent Tinto's Integration Theory and Lent, Brown, and Hackett's Social Cognitive Career Theory data will be collected during students' second through fourth years to answer the research questions.

Setting: 

Primary institutions: (a) Florida international University (Miami, FL), and (b) Howard University (Washington, DC). Participating institutions: (a) The University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Mayaguez, PR), and (b) North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University (Greensboro, NC).

Research Design: 

The project uses a longitudinal research design and will generate evidence that is descriptive [mixed methods] and associative/correlational [logistic regression]. Original data will be collected on Black and Hispanic undergraduates majoring in Engineering at universities in the United States and its territories using survey research [self-completion questionnaire, semi-structured or informal interviews, and focus groups]. Instruments or measures include:

  • Engineering Fields Questionnaire (Lunt,2003). Instrument developed to probe students' self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and distal and proximal contextual influences the four variables that are related to students’ performance and persistence according Social Cognitive Career Theory as described by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994).
  • Integration Survey for Engineering Students. This is an instrument composed of 30 Likert scales that probes the extent of participants’ social and academic integration in their engineering programs. It was constructed based on Tinto’s theory of retention and it will be pilot tested and validated during the first semester of the project. The results of the validation project are currently undergoing review for publication.

Qualitative data from the interviews and focus groups will be coded and analyzed for emergent themes. Quantitative data from the two surveys will be analyzed using logistic regression or discriminant function analysis to determine the presence of variables that act as predictors of retention in programs and universities.

Findings: 

Findings will be posted as they become available.

Other Products: 

Integration in Undergraduate Engineering Questionnaire