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A Recruiting And Retention Strategy Through A Project Based Experiential Learning Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Recruitment and Retention

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.111.1 - 8.111.8



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Paper Authors

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Hirak Patangia

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


A Recruiting and Retention Strategy Through A Project Based Experiential Learning Course

Hirak C. Patangia University of Arkansas at Little Rock


An experiential learning course centered on an intellectually inquisitive project has been designed for the benefit of any freshman student who wants to explore engineering as a career field, and also to provide the prospective majors with a head start for the beginning engineering/technology courses and demonstrate the relevance of engineering work to enhance their motivation and retention. The course has a heavy emphasis on laboratory activities with an equally strong focus on ‘just-in-time’ theory relating to the concepts central to accomplishing the project goal. The prerequisite for the course has been kept at a minimum to make the course accessible to diverse university majors including students from education. National Science Foundation is supporting a new focus of the course to include education majors and pre-college teachers. A preliminary study of the effect of the course on recruiting and retention is included.


There is a general decline in engineering technology enrollments in many state institutions including our program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. A recent web-based survey reported a decline of as high as fifty percent in past ten years in the enrollments of electronics technology1. The drop in enrollments may fall below economic viability leading to downsizing or cancellation of programs. At the same time, industry personnel want us to produce more quality graduates. The university administration wants to see a reversal in the declining trend and is pushing the department to be actively engaged in student recruiting. The engineering technology faculties have taken an active role in this effort and they have been accompanying the university’s recruiting personnel on a regular basis to ‘college nights’ at high schools for recruiting purpose. On the other hand, there exists a large pool of undeclared students who are searching for a suitable major at the university. Many of these students have the potential to succeed in an engineering/technology education. Generally they shy away from engineering or engineering technology degree programs for their lack of a better understanding of the engineering field.

Along with recruiting, retention is also of great interest to the department. In the past, the first semester in our curriculum was basically devoted to math and science courses to prepare the students for the technical courses to come later in the curriculum. Such an approach is often dry and leads to student attrition since they don’t see any application courses. Also, the students have to wait a few semesters to know if the major they have chosen will meet their career goals. The traditional ‘intro’ course that generally surveys various engineering technology career paths is insufficient to provide the freshmen students with a feel for their major. The first circuit analysis

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

Patangia, H. (2003, June), A Recruiting And Retention Strategy Through A Project Based Experiential Learning Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12161

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