One of the most well-known personality assessment tools is the Myers Brigg Personality Type Indicator® (MBTI) test. According to the MBTI, people are classified in 16 different personality types. Results of the MBTI self-assessment test indicates whether the person tends to be sensing (S) or intuitive (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), judging (J) or perceiving (P), and extroverted (E) or introverted (I). No personality type is considered to be better than another; it is just a tool to help individuals know more about their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, compatibility with other people and even possible career preferences. A study done by ASEE-MBTI in 1980 showed that the majority of engineering students tend to have thinking and judging personality types and often they are introverted.
There is a public perception that if an individual is good in math and science, s/he should pursue an engineering career. However, the engineering field, similar to all the other fields, is evolving at a very fast pace. Advanced technologies may ease many past technical challenges, but new challenges always emerge. Today, more than ever before, engineering disciplines not only need strong technical minds, but also, strong communicators, entrepreneurs, managers and even “sustainabilists”. These new skill demands in engineering fields may attract people with different personality types than traditional engineering. Are we ready for these new types of students in the classroom?
The relationship between freshman students’ personality types and their interests in different aspects of engineering fields is presented in this paper. The personality types of undergraduate engineering students in the freshman Introduction to Engineering course were determined using the MBTI test. The Introduction to Engineering course at the University of ________ is a project-based learning course that includes four projects. Each project emphasizes a different engineering field while also addressing technical communication, sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. Correlations between students’ personality types and different aspects of engineering such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, communication or traditional engineering and their learning preferences are presented. The results of the study can be used to improve the recruitment and retention of more diverse students into engineering fields.
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