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A.A.S. + 2 = Iowa State University Bachelors of Engineering Technology: A Iowa Grassroots Success Story of Developing a 2+2 for "Career Track" Students.

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Two Year-to-Four Year Transfer Topics Part I

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.127.1 - 22.127.19

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Paper Authors


Julie A. Rursch Iowa State University

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Julie A. Rursch is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. Her research area is a novel approach to critical infrastructure modeling.

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Douglas W. Jacobson Iowa State University

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Doug Jacobson is a University Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. Dr. Jacobson joined the faculty in 1985 after receiving a Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University in 1985. Dr. Jacobson is currently the director the Iowa State University Information Assurance Center. Dr. Jacobson teaches network security and information warfare and has written a textbook on network security. Dr. Jacobson has received two R&D 100 awards for his security technology and has two patents in the area of computer security. Dr. Jacobson has given over 50 presentations in the area of computer security and has testified in front of the U.S. Senate committee of the Judiciary on security issues associated with peer-to-peer networking.

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 A.A.S. + 2 = Iowa State University Bachelors of Engineering Technology:  A Iowa Grassroots Success Story of Developing a 2+2 for "Career Track" Students.     Institutions that offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering and/or Software Engineering focus on the theoretical foundations related to machine and algorithm designs and produce graduates who fill a need throughout the country in the design, engineering and development of new computer components, software, systems and products.  However, in the light of an increasing demand and a declining pool from which to select, employers indicate there is an unmet need for graduates with the technical and complex thinking skills necessary for careers in the design, application, installation, operation, maintenance and security of computer and/or network systems to support industry.   While students who earn a two‐year technical degree such as an Associates of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) in computer or information technology can meet some of these industry needs, they do not always have the full tool kit of engineering problem‐solving skills that employers desire or are necessary for advancement in a career.  Historically the coursework completed in earning a two‐year technical degree (A.A.S.) does not transfer credit into four‐year degrees.  Students who hold a two‐year technical degree in computer or information technology often must begin their educational career again with few or no credit hours when entering a four‐year technical degree program.    As a pathway for computer and information technology A.A.S. degree holders to advance their education, Iowa State University has developed an Information and Computer Engineering Technology degree and will teach the first courses for the program in 2011.  The Information and Computer Engineering Technology degree is designed as a union of the outcomes from the Computer Engineering Technology criteria and the Information Engineering Technology criteria established in the ABET accreditation documentation.    While the creation of a Computer Engineering Technology degree is not novel, the focus of ISU's program is on additional education for two‐year community college students with A.A.S. degrees.  The grassroots effort on the part of the 15 community college districts in Iowa to obtain this 2+2 program and ISU's willingness to partner in the development is unique.  This paper describes the cooperative effort between the community college districts and the ISU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  It also outlines the work and outcomes from a three‐year series of workshops with computer and information technology faculty at Iowa's community colleges, major potential employers in the State of Iowa, and the chief academic officers at both Iowa State University and the 15 community college districts.  Survey data from the employer, as well as the curriculum developed, will be covered.   Discussed briefly in the paper is the work currently underway on bridge modules, a series of "short courses" focused on gaps in community college course content and developed with the collaboration of the community college instructors, to provide a smooth transition for students from a two‐year technical degree (A.A.S.) to the four‐year bachelors degree in Information and Computer Engineering Technology.  

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