What Most Facilitates Thriving for Undergraduate Engineering Students? A Rank Order Investigation of Engineering Experts


This research paper explores engineering experts' perceptions of the most important factors of thriving for undergraduate engineering students. Faculty, staff, and members of the engineering education system play a vital role in creating environments, and forming relationships with students conducive to thriving. The study in this paper builds upon prior work on engineering thriving that identified 147 factors developed from a literature review, refined with expert consultation. Out of the long list of factors, little is known regarding the most important factors that can serve as a starting point for engineering experts with limited resources to create environments and relationships that support more thriving engineering students.

In this paper, we analyze ranked order data to investigate the most important internal thriving competencies. Participants include 47 engineering experts i.e., engineering administrators, professors, staff, and advisers. To find which competencies were perceived as most important to engineering thriving, each expert was asked to generate and define up to ten competencies that they considered to be most important, then rank these competencies in order of importance. During data analysis, ranked competencies were scored on a reverse ordinal points basis, with the most important rankings receiving 10 points and the least important rankings receiving 1 point.

Overall, the top five most important competencies were Communication/Listening Skills (overall score = 104), Help-seeking/ Resourcefulness (overall score = 104), Teamwork (overall score = 97), Time Management (overall score = 96), and Resilience (overall score = 95). Findings from this study highlight the importance of intrapersonal, social, and behavioral competencies, providing a starting point for future work developing a survey of thriving for engineering students. Furthermore, these findings provide a greater insight into which high-impact competencies engineering faculty, staff, and administrators can focus on when creating environments conducive to student thriving and interacting directly with students when teaching, supporting, advising, and mentoring.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the ASEE 2022 Annual Conference



Document Type

Conference Proceeding