Study finds choice of major most influenced by quality of intro professor: Mesh with Hewner
These results seem consistent with Mike Hewner’s thesis results. If a student likes her intro course more, they are more likely to take that major. Students use how much they enjoy the course as a proxy for their affinity for the subject.
Undergraduates are significantly more likely to major in a field if they have an inspiring and caring faculty member in their introduction to the field. And they are equally likely to write off a field based on a single negative experience with a professor.
Those are the findings of a paper presented here during a session at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association by Christopher G. Takacs, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Chicago, and Daniel F. Chambliss, a professor of sociology at Hamilton College. The paper is one part of How College Works, their forthcoming book from Harvard University Press.