Role models for choice of academic discipline at university
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Jessie Kennedy, J Drennan, P Renfrow, B Watson
Role models are considered important in career development (Hackett and Betz, 1981), but the range of role models adopted in making academic and vocational decisions is not well researched (Nauta and Kokaly, 2001), although there is some evidence of the impact of role models, such as in changes in attitudes to non-traditional careers (Evans and Whigham, 1995). This study analyses the role models identified by a large cohort of students studying first-year courses at the University of Queensland. A questionnaire was completed in class by 1075 students across six faculties, in which they identified role models for their choice of academic program and indicated whether the role model was of the same sex, and whether it was a positive or negative role model. The number and types of roles models identified for each discipline of study is presented. Analysis of the data indicates that both males and females identify more role models of the same sex than of the opposite sex, except for women entering male-dominated fields of engineering and information technology. Women have more positive role models than men for career choices.