• academic integration;
  • classroom climate;
  • self-efficacy


Large numbers of students depart from engineering programs before graduation. For example, in fields such as engineering and computer science, students have commented on the inaccessible or unapproachable nature of faculty. To evaluate this problem, this study gathered data across four research universities. Using structural equation modeling, it measured environmental effects, i.e., academic integration or faculty distance on (a) self-efficacy, (b) academic confidence and (c) self-regulated learning behaviors effort, critical thinking, help-seeking and peer learning, and (d) GPA. Results showed that faculty distance lowered self-efficacy, academic confidence and GPA. Conversely, academic integration had a positive effect on self-efficacy, which in turn had strong positive effects on effort and critical thinking. Consequently, ongoing educational reform efforts must encourage engineering faculty to understand the significance of their student/professor relationships and seriously undertake measures to become personally available to students.