Title

Enrollment in Academic Minors: The Role of Self-Efficacy, Behavior Models and Recollection of Conversations in Determining Academic Decisions

Presenter Information

Elizabeth O. Vigeland

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In this study, we examine if University of Montana students enroll in the Wilderness and Civilization program because they have seen their peers rewarded for enrolling in the program. This research offers greater understanding about the reasons behind students' academic decisions. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire (Yeats quoted by Taylor, 2008). Higher education curriculum developers agree on the need to create academic programs “bridging between existing disciplines” and “moving towards a transversal, interdisciplinary curriculum” (Taylor, 2008. p. 6). The Wilderness and Civilization program at the University of Montana aims to fulfill these academic objectives. The program engages students in a year long program, exploring “wild land conservation and the human-nature relationship through an undergraduate field and campus program” (UM College of Forestry and Conservation website, 2012). Specifically, we hypothesize that enrollment in academic minors is a function of social interactions with academic models who enhance the appeal of enrolling.This research draws on the work of Social Cognitive Theory researchers and responses gathered from 20 past or current students in the Wilderness and Civilization program. We sent the survey to 68 students but only got 20 completed surveys back. Though our low response rate of 30% limits our ability to generalize our findings, comparatively few researchers have closely examined the effect personal communications can exert on academic decision making. The information from this descriptive study can be applied to enhance understanding of academic decisions, in general, and enrollment in interdisciplinary programs like the Wilderness and Civilization program, specifically.

Category

Social Sciences

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Enrollment in Academic Minors: The Role of Self-Efficacy, Behavior Models and Recollection of Conversations in Determining Academic Decisions

UC 327

In this study, we examine if University of Montana students enroll in the Wilderness and Civilization program because they have seen their peers rewarded for enrolling in the program. This research offers greater understanding about the reasons behind students' academic decisions. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire (Yeats quoted by Taylor, 2008). Higher education curriculum developers agree on the need to create academic programs “bridging between existing disciplines” and “moving towards a transversal, interdisciplinary curriculum” (Taylor, 2008. p. 6). The Wilderness and Civilization program at the University of Montana aims to fulfill these academic objectives. The program engages students in a year long program, exploring “wild land conservation and the human-nature relationship through an undergraduate field and campus program” (UM College of Forestry and Conservation website, 2012). Specifically, we hypothesize that enrollment in academic minors is a function of social interactions with academic models who enhance the appeal of enrolling.This research draws on the work of Social Cognitive Theory researchers and responses gathered from 20 past or current students in the Wilderness and Civilization program. We sent the survey to 68 students but only got 20 completed surveys back. Though our low response rate of 30% limits our ability to generalize our findings, comparatively few researchers have closely examined the effect personal communications can exert on academic decision making. The information from this descriptive study can be applied to enhance understanding of academic decisions, in general, and enrollment in interdisciplinary programs like the Wilderness and Civilization program, specifically.