Asee peer logo

A Review of the Literature on Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engaging Minority Pre-College and Transfer Students in Engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.101.1 - 24.101.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Andrea M. Ogilvie P.E. Virginia Tech

visit author page

Andrea M. Ogilvie, P.E. is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Engineering Education department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Andrea’s research mission is to broaden participation in STEM and her current research interests are focused on understanding the effects of institutional policy on pathways into engineering (e.g. access, recruitment, migration, persistence) and on student retention in engineering.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Andrea served as the director of the Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) Program at The University of Texas at Austin for 11 years. Andrea joined UT in 2001 after six years in industry, where she had a successful career as a structural engineer for Kellogg Brown & Root and HDR Engineering, Inc.

As EOE Director, Andrea led Cockrell School of Engineering efforts to recruit and retain ethnically underrepresented students as well as students with backgrounds or experiences that contributed to the overall diversity of the School. During her term, Andrea raised more than $3.7 million in private and public grants to support the EOE program and its mission. While EOE was under her direction, UT Austin ranked as high as third in the nation in producing undergraduate engineering degrees for minority groups and the program was recognized with the 2011 NSBE ExxonMobil Impact Award and the 2012 College Board Innovator Award, Getting through College Category.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Literature Review on Engineering Transfer Students and Diversifying Pathways to Engineering DegreesAbstract Engineering is essential to our health, happiness, and safety.1 As a result, quality of lifein the United States is largely dependent on the fruitful efforts of a skilled science, technology,engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce which includes engineers that design, build,and create innovative products that affect us daily and help shape the future.2 President Obama,in his State of the Union speech for three consecutive years, directly addressed the importance ofSTEM education to our country and its relationship to the health of the U.S. economy. Despitenational efforts, in the past, to expand the domestic STEM workforce, enrollment and degreesawarded in engineering have stayed relatively constant in the United States for more than twodecades. In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science Technology (PCAST) released areport to President Obama entitled Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional CollegeGraduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The reportdocuments the need for STEM talent in the U.S. workforce and posits that the demand for morecollege graduates in STEM can be met with efforts focused on: 1.) increasing retention rates; 2.)and diversifying pathways.3 This study responds to a call for action from President Obama and his Council ofAdvisors on Science Technology. The purpose of my research is: 1.) to determine if the transferstudent pathway is an effective strategy to increase engineering degree production; and 2.) tounderstand how institutional policy and organizational structure affect pathways into engineeringat Tier One Research Universities for transfer students. Findings from this study will assistpolicy makers, higher education administrators, deans, and department chairs understand how toallocate limited resources (i.e. financial and human) to diversify pathways and increase thenumber of students who transfer into engineering at Tier One Research Universities. Thisliterature review surveys the large body of literature on the experiences of community collegestudents and identifies gaps in the literature on pathways and outcomes for engineering studenttransfers. 1References1. National Research Council. (2008). Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.2. Ibid.3. President's Council of Advisors on Science Technology. (2012). Report to the president, engage to excel: producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 2

Ogilvie, A. M. (2014, June), A Review of the Literature on Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19993

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: © 2014 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