Belongingness of Chilean Engineering Students: A Gender Perspective Approach

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Abstract

Students' affective characteristics, such as motivation, attitudes, self-efficacy, expectations, and sense of belonging, are relevant topics for higher education research. Much research indicates that having a sense of belonging in academic, social, and community settings are critical to students' development, engagement, and persistence. Prior research on women's participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers discusses the need to improve their sense of belonging as a socio-cognitive variable related to the gender imbalance in participation in STEM areas. Women's sense of belonging is crucial to higher education institutions, especially in highly masculinized careers such as engineering. It increases academic motivation and can influence their success in higher education. However, statistics worldwide show that the increase in the sense of belonging and, thus, in the participation of women in STEM areas has not risen enough to reduce the gender gap. In the current research work, we present data collected over one semester in an Engineering School at a large private university in Chile. Our main objective is to diagnose and analyze the students' sense of belonging in social and academic areas, their self-efficacy, and perceived institutional support from a gender perspective. With a quantitative approach, survey data was collected to assess students' sense of belonging as engineering students. The validated survey consists of 33 items distributed in four constructs: 1) Sense of belonging-general, 2) sense of belonging-interactions, 3) Self-efficacy and 4) Perceived institutional support. From this, we identify and discuss the student's sense of belonging and how it interacts with self-efficacy and perceived institutional support. This research allows us to have evidence that supports the visibility and creation of initiatives on the services offered to students, which impact their sense of belonging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 202328 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • gender studies
  • self-efficacy
  • sense of belonging
  • women in engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering

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