An Examination Of The Identity Development Of African American Undergraduate Engineering Students
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHigher Education Program
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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Universities and colleges--Administration
This study examined the identity development for a sample of 90 African American undergraduate engineering male and female students attending an HBCU. Using the Student Development Task and Lifestyle Assessment (SDTLA), which is based on Chickering and Reisser's identity development theory, differences in identity development were examined with respect to gender, academic classification, and grade point average. Previous research has shown the need to look beyond academic factors to understand and influence the persistence of African American engineering students. Non-cognitive factors, including identity development have proven to be influential in predicting persistence, especially for African American engineering students. Results from the analysis revealed significant means for academic classification and five of the dependent variables to include career planning peer relations, emotional autonomy, educational involvement, and establishing and clarifying purpose. Post hoc analysis confirmed significant differences for four of those dependent variables. However, the analysis failed to confirm statistical significant differences in peer relations due to academic classification. The significant decline in the mean scores for development in these four areas, as students progressed from sophomore to senior year revealed strong implications for the need to provide programming and guidance for those students. Institutions of higher education should provide more attention to the non-cognitive areas of development as a means of understanding identity development and working toward creating support systems for students.