June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Two Year College Division
23.39.1 - 23.39.18
A Descriptive Study of Engineering Transfer Students at Four Institutions: Lateral vs. Vertical Transfer PathwaysBackground: Transfer students account for a large percentage of the postsecondarypopulation in engineering and many other disciplines. Given the increase in numbers overtime, an exploration of the varying transfer pathways deserves attention. However, muchof the literature on transfer students focuses on vertical transfer, or movement from a 2-year institution to a 4-year institution; this is especially the case for engineering transferstudents. Less attention is paid to those students who make a lateral transition betweeninstitutions of a similar type (i.e., from one two-year institution to another or from onefour-year institution to another). Research suggests that these transfer students differfrom the traditional transfer student who moves from a 2-year to 4-year institution. Thus,it is important to better understand the content and character of lateral transfer studentexperiences to improve student retention and success.In this paper, we explore the student pathways and experiences of students who transferfrom one institution to another in their pursuit of a baccalaureate degree in engineering.We report the descriptive characteristics of students at four large public institutions thatare members of the Multiple Institution Database for Engineering LongitudinalDevelopment (MIDFIELD) partnership. Study data were obtained from the interviewrecruitment questionnaire sent to prospective interviewees. The survey asked students toreport all of the previous institutions they had attended.Findings: The descriptive data provide a more complete picture of engineering studentpathways toward a baccalaureate degree at these four institutions. Our initial results(from two institutions and 63 survey respondents) reveal that 84% of the studentsreported transferring directly from a four-year institution. Thus, our initial findings runcounter to the literature on transfer students which focuses on the vertical pathway.Our final paper will include data from two additional institutions, one of which is knownto have many transfer students from community colleges. Our analysis incorporatesinformation about whether students’ most recent previous institutions were in-state orout-of-state. We also integrate information about the presence of articulation agreementsand dual-degree programs. From our interview data, we infer some guiding motivatorsfor lateral transfer based on the student accounts of their experiences with the transferprocess. The final paper highlights the character of transfer pathways in engineering byfocusing on the often-overlooked lateral transfer track. The study results would be ofinterest to faculty, staff and policy makers interested in improving the retention andsuccess of transfer students in engineering. Ultimately, student success could beimproved with more detailed knowledge about the complex nature of student transferpathways.
Shealy, E., & Brawner, C. E., & Mobley, C., & Layton, R. A. (2013, June), A Descriptive Study of Engineering Transfer Students at Four Institutions: Comparing Lateral and Vertical Transfer Pathways Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19053
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