Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Higher Education


Johnson, Dawn R.


Academic outcomes, Classroom climate, Engineering, Engineering persistence, Introductory STEM courses, STEM

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education


This dissertation utilized survey research to examine the classroom climate in introductory science, engineering, and mathematics courses and its impact on students' desire to remain in engineering, academic success, academic confidence, and enjoyment of their major. Data were collected from 161 engineering students that completed their second year of coursework at a private research university in the northeast. Using Astin's (1991) college impact theory and an intersectional feminist framework (Crenshaw, 1991), the study used hierarchical multiple regression analyses to examine how students' background characteristics and perceptions of supportive or chilly classroom experiences predicted the academic outcome variables. An increase in the supportive climate construct resulted in positive academic outcomes. An increase in the chilly climate construct did not impact students' desire to remain in engineering, but it decreased their academic success, academic confidence, and enjoyment of their major. Further, t-tests and chi-square analyses showed how gender and race/ethnicity influenced students' perceptions of the classroom climate. While there were no significant differences in the respondents' perceptions of the supportive climate by race/ethnicity or gender, women and Students of Color found the climate increasingly chilly, with Women of Color experiencing the chilliest classroom climate. Through examining the individual survey items, it was clear that students' experiences were impacted by their gender and race/ethnicity, so it behooves the university to enhance its efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Open Access