Identity is an enduring and continuous sense of one’s self and is often thought of as the answer to the questions, “Who am I, Who can I be, and Where do I belong?” Research shows that developing a robust STEM identity is important for academic and personal development, integration into STEM fields, and academic success in STEM programs. In addition to identity, other non-cognitive factors like motivation, belonging, and personality have similar influence on student success. However, most institutions of higher education rely on cognitive measures, like grades, as a sole measure of student success, and intervention efforts often focus on academic skills required to perform well on these specific measures. Often, supporting students’ non-cognitive factors goes mostly ignored, although this area has gained interest in recent years.
This talk will explore the current research on engineering identity as well as other non-cognitive factors and the emerging links to student success. Data from multiple national studies (both large quantitative survey results and rich “small n” qualitative interviews) will be discussed. Possibilities for particular interventions on individual and sets of non-cognitive factors that are malleable and may be prime targets for supporting student success more broadly will be highlighted.