Radford University
Center for Gender Studies
   University Students' Self-views
               and their choices to pursue or avoid
      Studies in Science and Technology
Research on Gendered Self-Concepts
Regarding Science and Technology
by Dr. Hilary Lips

A Women's Month Event To Be Presented at the
Southeastern Women’s Studies Association Conference,
Blacksburg, March 20-22, 2003

Within the Panel: Teaching and Learning, Technology, and the Self
Thursday, March 20th, Squires Student Center, Room 154
For an overview regarding Hilary Lips' presentation and biographical information, see below:

Researchers now see the self-concept, not as simply a collection of self-attributed traits, but as a lens through which individuals see and organize reality (Ross & Nisbett, 1991). Some argue that individuals see each situation through the lens of their own self-views, and thus self-views make a difference in the way situations impact on them. Constructivist approaches posit something even more complex:: that humans actively create and construe their personal realities–that each person creates his or her own representational model of the world (including the self) and that this model does not simply act as a filter through which ongoing experience is perceived, but that the model actually creates and constrains new experience (Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Theorists also argue that an individual’s definition of her identity is critical to her comfort with various choices and behaviors. This panel explores ways in which issues of self and identity interact with choices with respect to university-level teaching and learning in the realm of science and technology.
Panel Presentation Title:
University Students’ Self-Views and Their Choices to Pursue or Avoid Studies in Science and Technology
presented by Hilary M. Lips, Radford University
Biographical information:
Hilary Lips is a professor of psychology, chair of the psychology department, director of the Center for Gender Studies at Radford University. A Canadian by birth, she taught at the University of Winnipeg for many years before moving to Virginia. She has written extensively about women and gender; her research has focused largely on gender and academic choices and power. For further details visit: http://www.radford.edu/~hlips

Panel Presentation:
Research and theory suggest a central role for the self in motivation and behavior (Brown, 1998). Thus, an understanding of students’ self-views is important for explaining the persistent tendency for male and female students to separate into different academic and career paths and the resistance of many young women to science and technology careers (Lips, 2002). A sample of 728 university students completed a questionnaire to measure their current and possible academic self-views and gave permission for the researchers to access their academic records. Significant gender differences were found among students at all university levels in the ways they viewed their patterns of academic strengths, particularly with respect to their possibilities for further study in the male-dominated fields of physical sciences, engineering, computing, and mathematics. For a random sub-sample of these respondents, academic records were accessed to determine the degree to which their self-rated possibility of pursuing further study in particular areas matched their actual academic choices in subsequent years. Findings showed that students’ views of their possible academic selves predicted their declared majors, continuing and reinforcing the gender divide in academic pursuits. Implications and possible interventions are discussed.

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             Website Created  by  W. Andrew   &   H. Lips   Last updated  July 31/ th, 2022