This study used social cognitive career theory to predict the career aspirations and tenure expectations of untenured female science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) assistant professors. We hypothesized that contextual variables (perceived career barriers and institutional support for work–life balance) would directly predict career aspirations and tenure expectations. We also expected that these contextual variables would be indirectly related to career aspirations and tenure expectations through our self-efficacy variables (faculty task-specific self-efficacy and impostor beliefs). Data were collected from 214 untenured female faculty in STEM departments. Path analyses indicated that the hypothesized model was a good fit for the data. Institutional support for work–life balance produced direct and indirect pathways to career aspirations through faculty task-specific self-efficacy and an indirect pathway to tenure expectations through impostor beliefs, whereas perceived career barriers produced a direct pathway to career aspirations. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
- assistant professors
- career aspirations
- social cognitive career theory
- tenure expectations