Study finds choice of major most influenced by quality of intro professor: Mesh with Hewner

September 10, 2013 at 1:02 am 2 comments

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.

via Study finds choice of major most influenced by quality of intro professor | Inside Higher Ed.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dennisfraileyDennis Frailey  |  September 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

    These results are somewhat consistent with my personal experience, but for me it was the collection of all faculty encountered in the first year, not just one professor. I had originally planned to be a physics major with a math minor, but due to my first year encounters, at which I admired all of the faculty but felt the math faculty were more concerned with me as a mere freshman, i switched to a math major and physics minor. In my first year I had two required math courses and two required physics courses, and I also took one elective in each.

  • 2. Yes, it is valuable | Technology education and me  |  September 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

    […] my belief that I’m doing something valuable with my time.  The first is a study, reported on by Mark Guzdial in his blog, that shows a student’s choice of major is most influenced by the quality of the professor in […]


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