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A Retention Study At Baylor University

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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

What Makes Them Continue?

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.114.1 - 8.114.12



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Paper Authors

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Kenneth Van Treuren

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

Session 3553

A Retention Study at Baylor University Ken Van Treuren, Steve Eisenbarth, Cindy Fry

Baylor University


Faced with an engineering program graduation rate of approximately 22%, Baylor University’s Department of Engineering recognized the need to identify factors influencing student attrition from engineering. By attracting new students and retaining current engineering students, Baylor University‘s engineering program has improved this graduation rate in the recent past to approximately 30% but this is still below the national average of 38%. The engineering program at Baylor University is a small, undergraduate only program with a strong emphasis on teaching and student/faculty interaction. Retention statistics for the program are presented and compared with the literature. The work and results from the School of Engineering and Computer Science Retention Committee is reported. The committee explored risk factors contributing to the loss of students. The freshman course sequence is also presented. One outgrowth of this study was the creation of a Freshman Success Task Force, which is charged with generating “a plan and process to increase the success/persistence of freshman computer science and engineering students at Baylor.” The retention goals set by the Task Force are discussed and the resulting curriculum initiatives presented. Of note is the participation of Baylor University’s Information Management and Testing group, which helped identify capabilities and limitations associated with institutional data collection/management and started the search for relevant data analysis and collection instruments.


The engineering program at Baylor University began in 1979 when a faculty committee, at the direction of the University President, created an engineering science curriculum and hired the first engineering faculty member. The engineering science program developed three options targeted to electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering. As more faculty were added, the engineering science program was modified to conform to specific ABET accreditation criteria, however, the ABET criteria forced Baylor to seek accreditation under the non-traditional criteria since Baylor did not meet minimum faculty counts. The initial ABET visit did not proceed well and a second visit was requested. Between the first and second visit, the three options were reduced to two, mechanical and electrical, and a common engineering core was created for a general engineering program with options. The second visit resulted in the initial accreditation for the Engineering program.

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

Van Treuren, K. (2003, June), A Retention Study At Baylor University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12000

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