Date of Conferral







Dr. Cheryl Keen


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs in higher education institutions, particularly engineering programs, face challenges related to recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are significant relationships among students' major preference, academic skills, nonacademic characteristics and perceptions, and retention to year 2 among students in electronic engineering, other STEM, and non STEM majors. The academic skills considered were study habits, intellectual interest, verbal and writing confidence, and academic assistance. The non-academic factors included academic support, family support, financial support, and student social integration into the campus environment. Tinto's theory of retention served as the theoretical framework. The research design was quantitative with a general linear method of analysis using responses to the College Student Inventory (CSI) survey as secondary data to determine the relationships among the independent variables (major and academic and non-academic factors) and dependent variable (retention). Participants were 3,575 first year undergraduate full-time students from three entering classes, 2012 to 2014. Findings suggested that student major and non-academic factors had no effect on student retention, but student study habits and seeking academic assistance were predictors of retention in each of the three groups of majors: engineering, other STEM majors, and nonSTEM majors. Strategies to help increase undergraduate students' study skills and help seeking behaviors may contribute to positive social change at HBCU institutions

Included in

Education Commons