Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Room: Marriott Balcony A
Jacob Vanderpool - North Carolina Agricultural and Technological State University
Co-Author(s): DeAndria Bryant, North Carolina Agricultural and Technological State University
Increasing the persistence of talented women professionals into male-dominated architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions could reduce workforce shortages and improve diversity. With only 2.8% of construction professionals being women, identity theorists advocate that professional identity development (PID) improve students’ persistence. However, little is known about AEC-PID processes in women. As part of a nationwide and longitudinal research study, which investigates PID processes in AEC women, the purpose of this paper is to examine the baseline AEC-PIDs of 67 women enrolled in freshman AEC programs in five U.S. institutions. A purposive sampling approach ensures participants with a wide range of demographic characteristics. Data from open-ended questions in a recruitment survey are analyzed using the NVIVO software. Content and relational inductive open coding are conducted vertically for each participant and horizontally across different participants. An inductive analysis of the participants? views of the AEC industry and their AEC professional experiences reveal four increasing levels of emergent AEC-PID to include Naive, Passive, Progressive, and Proactive. Although Progressive participants (51%) with no AEC experience have some views about the industry, the strongest views are from Proactive participants (28%) who have some AEC experience. Positive views focus on AEC?s global impact on generations, while negative views are on lack of gender and racial diversity. The two themes characterizing the rationale guiding the pursuit of an AEC degree are to contribute to or benefit from the AEC industry. Predictors of women?s interest in AEC programs include love for math and art subjects, inherent abilities, and pre-college association with the AEC profession. With 52% of participants identifying with STEAM interests, an in-vivo code, Middle Ground, emerged with participants’ quest to combine STEM strengths with visual/ performing arts passion in career decisions. In conclusion, initial AEC-PID in undergraduate women is influenced by STEAM abilities and pre-college AEC experiences. It is hypothesized that Proactive and Progressive women will have highest persistence into AEC careers. Future research will investigate lived experiences and develop AEC-PID grounded theories to guide the implementation of educational and professional programs and policies that transform the recruitment, retention, and persistence of the next generation of AEC women. In the long term, this could reduce workforce shortages, improve diversity, and foster the innovation of gender friendly AEC products and services. References: Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. California, US: Sage Publications Copobianco, B. M. (2006). Undergraduate women engineering their professional identities. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 12, 95-117.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funding was provided through an NSF-Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant.
Faculty Advisor: Andrea Ofori-Boadu, email@example.com
Role: Data entry and analysis