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Advising Engineering Students to the Best Program: Perspective, Approaches, and Tools

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Ethical Issues II: Academic Integrity and Student Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.138.1 - 25.138.11

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Paper Authors


Narciso F. Macia P.E. Arizona State University, Polytechnic

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Narciso F. Macia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, at Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus. Prior to accepting his present position with ASU, he founded Control Systems Innovation, Inc., an engineering consulting and product development firm, in which he continues to be active. Macia received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering in 1974 and 1976 from the University of Texas, Arlington, and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Arizona State University in 1988. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Arizona. He is a member of ASME and ASEE. He is the holder of three patents and more than 36 publications. He has co-authored a book on modeling and control of dynamic systems.

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Robert W. Nowlin Retired

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Robert W. Nowlin is retired but serves as an Adjunct Professor at Mesa Community College and a faculty associate at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D.E.E. from Texas Tech University in 1975, a M.S.E.E. from San Diego State University in 1969, and a B.S.E.E. degree from the University of Washington in 1963. From 1996 to 2000, he was the Department Chair of the lectronics and Computer Engineering Technology Department at Arizona State University East. From 2000 to 2007, he served as a Staff Engineer at Acoustic Technologies Inc. in Mesa, Ariz. He holds one patent and is the author and/or co-author of numerous papers. He is a senior, life member of IEEE and a member of ASEE.

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Advising Engineering Students to the Best Program for Them: Perspective, Approaches and ToolsAbstractOur present era is characterized by an almost an infinite number of choices, ranging from icecream flavors to vehicles. The situation is no different for those pursuing careers in engineeringprograms, such as classical engineering, multidisciplinary engineering and 4-year, engineeringtechnology programs.Many departments try to fit the incoming student into their particular mold. They assume that if astudent is at their doorstep, their department or program can provide the best educationalenvironment for the student. Many times this works well, but often the student in placed in asuboptimal environment because the student’s unique characteristics and aspirations are nottaken into consideration in creating the best possible educational program-student match. Inreality, we all have an ethical obligation to recommend to the student the program which is bestfor them.This paper has two goals: a) To provide some guidelines to help a prospective student choose a degree program that matches his/her interests, academic skills and immediate and long-term career plans. b) Presents a graphical representation of the various engineering programs that can be used as a vehicle for comparing their pedagogical approaches favored in these educational programs. This diagram can be useful for educators in comparing the differences and similarities between programs. It can also be used as in vehicle for presenting to the prospective student the differences and similarities among the programs that they are considering.The proposed graphical device shows simultaneously the distribution of practical ability (skill)and theoretical knowledge of a particular program on the y-axis, versus the multiplicity ofsubject covered in the program on the x-axis. Even though there is a connection between skilland knowledge, this connection is not guaranteed. For instance, one might know how muchsugar to put in my tea (skill) but at the same time have no idea of how sugar is produced(theoretical knowledge). Also, one might know how to describe the chemical reaction thatarrests material degradation in a galvanized metal (theoretical knowledge) but have never seen apart being galvanized.This graphical representation is hoped to facilitate communication among practitioners andeducators in the field, and also helps students find the ideal educational path that will fulfill theirprofessional goals.

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: © 2012 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