The career aspirations of associate degree students: implications for engineering educators and the profession

Paper


Dowling, David. 2010. "The career aspirations of associate degree students: implications for engineering educators and the profession." Willis, E. (ed.) Engineering Education Conference (EE 2010): Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers . Birmingham, United Kingdom 06 - 08 Jul 2010 Loughborough, United Kingdom.
Paper/Presentation Title

The career aspirations of associate degree students: implications for engineering educators and the profession

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorDowling, David
EditorsWillis, E.
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of Engineering Education Conference (EE 2010)
ERA Conference ID42742
Number of Pages9
Year2010
Place of PublicationLoughborough, United Kingdom
ISBN1907632093
9781907632099
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.engsc.ac.uk/downloads/scholarart/ee2010/19_GP_Dowling.pdf
Conference/EventEngineering Education Conference (EE 2010): Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers
Engineering Education series (organised by Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre UK)
Event Details
Engineering Education series (organised by Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre UK)
Rank
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
Event Details
Engineering Education Conference (EE 2010): Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers
Event Date
06 to end of 08 Jul 2010
Event Location
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Abstract

During the period 2006-2008 there was a large and unexpected growth in the commencing enrolments in the distance education offer of the Associate Degree of Engineering program, with the commencing student total growing from 115 in 2005, to 337 in 2008. A small questionnaire was developed in 2006 to explore the reasons for this spike in enrolments, and to gather information about these students, who mostly study part-time because they work full-time in the engineering industry.
The online questionnaire was posted in March 2007 and all of the students enrolled in the program at that time were asked to complete the questionnaire. Since then, the students in each commencing cohort have been invited to complete the questionnaire during their first semester of study.
A preliminary analysis of the 247 responses from distance education students found that 63% of the students have a career goal to become a Professional Engineer and see the Associate Degree as a stepping stone to the Bachelor of Engineering. Surprisingly, less than 14% of the respondents intend to pursue a career as an Engineering Associate. This unexpected result challenges a long-held assumption that students in Australian Advanced Diploma and Associate Degree programs will pursue careers as Engineering Technicians.
This paper reports on an analysis of the 2007-2009 data and discusses the need for effective and efficient articulation (upgrade) pathways to encourage people employed in the engineering industry to undertake university studies and achieve their career goals. If implemented, the benefits will accrue to students, universities, employers, and the engineering profession.

Keywordsassociate degree; engineering; technician; career aspirations
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520104. Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
390113. Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

© 2009 David Dowling. The author assigns to the EE2010 organisers and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. Deposited with permission of Author.

Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Engineering and Surveying
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