Asee peer logo

A Longitudinal Retention Study In An Urban Engineering School

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Knowing Students: Diversity & Retention

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.63.1 - 8.63.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Richard Heist

author page

Ann Marie Flynn

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1430

A Longitudinal Retention Study in an Urban Engineering School

Ann Marie Flynn and Richard H. Heist School of Engineering, Manhattan College Riverdale, New York 10471

Introduction The retention of undergraduate students in engineering programs has attracted considerable attention at Colleges and Universities across the Country. From an academic institutional standpoint, losing students from engineering programs can have serious resource and resource allocation ramifications. From a broader perspective, however, losing engineering students exacerbates the already serious problem of the shortage of engineers in the National workforce. While the number of undergraduate engineering degrees has decreased from roughly 85,000 in the mid-1980’s to roughly 60,000 at the turn of the century, the anticipated increase in the number of engineering positions by 2008 over that existing at the turn of the century is roughly 290,000. Attracting more students (particularly women and minorities) into engineering and retaining them are critically important concerns. While losing some students from engineering programs is expected, even desirable, it is important to measure and to evaluate the reasons for migration away from engineering in order to help determine optimum levels of retention for a given institution.

Manhattan College is a small, private, Catholic college located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York City. The total enrollment is roughly 2800 with approximately 2500 undergraduate students and 300 Masters-level students. The ratio of male to female undergraduates in the College is roughly 52%/48% and 78%/22% in the School of Engineering. The undergraduate diversity (ratio of Caucasian to non-Caucasian) in the College as well as the School of Engineering is roughly 72%/28%. The ratio of commuting to resident undergraduate students in the College is roughly 27%/73% and 38%/62% in the School of Engineering. The School of Engineering offers BS and MS degrees in Civil, Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering. The Mission of the College is to provide a contemporary, person-centered educational experience characterized by high academic standards, reflection on values and principles, and preparation for a life-long career. In this regard it is also important to note that, consistent with this Mission, there is a strong emphasis on providing educational opportunities to first generation college students.

As mentioned earlier, retention of students has both institutional and global ramifications. Considering the stringent economic constraints facing most colleges and universities, the “costs”

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Heist, R., & Flynn, A. M. (2003, June), A Longitudinal Retention Study In An Urban Engineering School Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12148

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015