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A Plan To Improve Student Preparation And Engagement In Engineering

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Attracting Young Minds: Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.85.1 - 14.85.7



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Paper Authors

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Qiang Le Hampton University

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Eric Sheppard Hampton University

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

A plan to improve student preparation and engagement in engineering Abstract

As in many engineering programs, the programs at the School of Engineering and Technology are concerned with improving our recruitment and retention, and have targeted action in two areas: pre-college programs (impacting recruitment) and the freshman introduction to engineering course (impacting retention) as part of our strategic plan for improvement. Inspired by a NAE-sponsored workshop held in Hampton University, entitled “Strengthening HBCU Engineering Education Research Capacity”, the engineering faculty hypothesized that our engineering program would be more successful if it paid greater attention to the learning styles of the target student populations in order to improve student preparation and engagement in engineering.

One option to engage students and provide more interactive learning opportunities is the use of case studies. This paper outlines how cases were introduced to the freshman course “Introduction to Engineering” and to a summer pre-college program, some results from the implementations, and discussion of the next planned steps.

This paper reviews the success of the use of case studies for the freshmen and pre-college students at Hampton University and discusses the next steps in our plan to improve preparation and engagement in our engineering students. Our goal is to improve retention and learning. And this effort integrates educational research and the classroom experience.


The nation’s current and projected need for more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workers, coupled with the chronically lagging participation of students from ethnically growing segments of the population, argue for policies and programs that will increase the pathways into engineering. Enhancing the curriculum is recognized to be an important way to improve overall diversity in engineering. Retooling curricula to prepare students for the innovation age requires them to explore open-ended problems, thereby acquiring higher-order cognitive and teamwork skills and equipping them with the tools they will need to become successful engineers. Past research has indicated that compared to traditional instructional methods, student-oriented instructional methods such as multi-media case studies that encourage student participation and active involvement in learning are better ways to accomplish these objectives1 . Many of the new skills needed to succeed in the innovation age can be achieved through the case study pedagogy. This pedagogy may be particularly effective for African- American students, who are inclined to prefer team-based interactive environments and whose learning styles might be different than those of traditional engineering students2 . The Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education at Auburn University (LITEE)3 has developed a set of multi-media case studies that can be used in engineering program.

Le, Q., & Sheppard, E. (2009, June), A Plan To Improve Student Preparation And Engagement In Engineering Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5699

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