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An Analysis Of Freshman Engineering: A Cross College Perspective

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Engineering/Education Collaborators

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.159.1 - 9.159.11



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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Connor

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Vinod Lohani

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

Session 3130

An Analysis of Freshman Engineering: A Cross-College Perspective

J.B. Connor 1, V.K. Lohani 1, E. Bull 3, T.M. Wildman2, S.G. Magliaro 2, T.W. Knott 1, O.H. Griffin, Jr 1 J.A. Muffo4 1 Department of Engineering Education 2 Department of Teaching and Learning 3 Department of Computer Science Office of Academic Assessment Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering (COE) is the sixth largest US engineering program in terms of bachelor’s degrees awarded in 20021. All freshmen engineering students at Virginia Tech undergo a common first year General Engineering (GE) curriculum and are assigned to the Division of Engineering Fundamentals, which has recently been renamed as the Department of Engineering Education (ENGE). Students transfer from ENGE to eleven degree-granting departments as sophomores. The target enrollment in GE has been 1300 freshmen for the past decade, but this number will increase to about 1600 in the fall of 2004 due to the recent inclusion of the Computer Science Department in the College. With the addition of Computer Science, educational objectives of the common first year GE program have changed. Further, given the constantly increasing pressure to improve engineering education, the College must develop a more unified approach to improve the teaching and learning environment. Currently, the crucial linkages between the first year GE curriculum and the curricula in eleven degree-granting departments are not well defined. This can be attributed, primarily, to lack of coordination between faculty members in ENGE and the degree-granting departments. The new leadership of the COE has responded to these changes/ needs by re-conceptualizing and updating the mission of the ENGE department. The faculty in the Department of Engineering Education will now be responsible for improving engineering education and pedagogy within the College by undertaking scholarly activities in collaboration with their colleagues in other engineering departments and experts in education psychology and pedagogy. The three key issues that the College and ENGE must address are: i) the need for faculty and administrators to better understand the teaching and learning process so that they will be willing and enthusiastic partners in change, ii) the culture for assessment within COE is poorly developed and lacks an explicit focus on learning, and iii) the fact that the existing engineering curricula does not fully meet contemporary standards as suggested by several decades of progress in understanding student learning and development.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education"

Connor, J., & Lohani, V. (2004, June), An Analysis Of Freshman Engineering: A Cross College Perspective Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13356

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