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A National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education: Longitudinal Impact at Wright State University

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.76.1 - 23.76.12

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Paper Authors


Nathan W. Klingbeil Wright State University

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Nathan Klingbeil is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Senior Associate Dean in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University. He is the lead PI for Wright State's National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education. He held the University title of Robert J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching from 2005-2008, and served as the College's Director of Student Retention and Success from 2007-2009. He has received numerous awards for his work in engineering education, including the ASEE North Central Section Outstanding Teacher Award (2004) and the CASE Ohio Professor of the Year Award (2005).

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Anthony Bourne Wright State University

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A National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education: Longitudinal Impact at Wright State UniversityAbstractThe inability of incoming students to advance past the traditional first-year calculus sequence is aprimary cause of attrition in engineering programs across the country. As a result, this paper willsummarize an NSF funded initiative at Wright State University to redefine the way engineeringmathematics is taught, with the goal of increasing student retention, motivation and success inengineering.The Wright State model begins with the development of a novel first-year engineeringmathematics course, EGR 101 “Introductory Mathematics for Engineering Applications.”Taught by engineering faculty, the course includes lecture, laboratory and recitation components.Using an application-oriented, hands-on approach, the course addresses only the salient mathtopics actually used in core engineering courses. These include the traditional physics,engineering mechanics, electric circuits and computer programming sequences. The EGR 101course replaces traditional math prerequisite requirements for the above core courses, so thatstudents can advance in the curriculum without first completing a traditional first-year calculussequence. The Wright State model concludes with a more just-in-time structuring of the requiredmath sequence, in concert with college and ABET requirements. The result has shifted thetraditional emphasis on math prerequisite requirements to an emphasis on engineeringmotivation for math.The Wright State model was first implemented in Fall of 2004, and its effect on studentretention, motivation and success in engineering has since been widely reported. The 2007introduction of EGR 100/199 as a precursor to EGR 101 for initially underprepared students hasfurther strengthened the approach, and has made the core engineering curriculum accessible toincoming students across the entire range of ACT math scores. As part of an NSF CCLI Phase 3initiative, various aspects of the approach are now being piloted by 15 institutions across thecountry (primarily university, but also at the community college and K-12 levels). Theseinstitutions represent strategic pockets of interest in some of our nation's most STEM criticalregions, including Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Maryland and Virginia. Thedissemination component of the project has resulted in the addition of numerous unfundedcollaborators, and the approach is now under consideration by at least two dozen institutionsacross the country.This paper will include results of a longitudinal study of program impacts at Wright StateUniversity, including student performance in calculus, student performance in core engineeringcourses, and ultimate graduation rates. Results will show that the introduction of EGR 101 andassociated prerequisite changes have substantially mitigated the effect of incoming mathpreparation on student success in engineering across the entire range of incoming ACT mathscores, which has more than doubled the average graduation rate of enrolled students. Moreover,it has done so without watering down the caliber of graduates, who have actually enjoyed a slight(but statistically significant) increase in graduation GPA. Finally, the approach has been shownto have the greatest impact on members of underrepresented groups, for many of whom thetraditional engineering curriculum is simply not accessible.

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