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Analysis Of Freshman To Sophomore Retention In Year Two Of A First Year Engineering Program

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Research on the First Year I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.178.1 - 15.178.11

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Paper Authors

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Richard Cassady University of Arkansas

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Gigi Secuban University of Arkansas

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

Analysis of Freshman-to-Sophomore Retention in Year Two of a First-Year Engineering Program


During the 2007-2008 academic year, the University of Arkansas implemented the Freshman Engineering Program (FEP), a new first-year experience program for engineering students. The FEP was originally proposed to the engineering faculty as an effort to improve the retention of new engineering students from their freshman to their sophomore years. As a result, the activities of the Academic and Student Services Sub-Programs executed by the faculty and staff of the FEP are all intended to improve students’ likelihood of academic success and/or to increase students’ desire to pursue an engineering degree. Since improving freshman-to-sophomore retention was a primary goal of the FEP, a significant amount of data has been collected on each of the 763 students enrolled in the first two FEP cohorts. This data includes demographic information, ACT (or similar) scores, high school GPA, AP (or similar) scores, first-semester class schedule and grades, second-semester enrollment data, second-semester class schedule and grades, third-semester enrollment data, and information related to the process used by students in selecting their engineering major for the sophomore year. Our primary objective in constructing and analyzing this data set is to identify intervention programs that will promote increased retention rates for these students. In this paper, we present what we view to be the most interesting results of our analysis of this data. These results primarily include tabulated counts from selected categories of the data. In the second year of our program (2008-2009), we implemented several intervention programs related to our students’ performance in their first- semester mathematics courses. Therefore, the performance of our second cohort in their first- semester mathematics courses is a focus of our paper. We also present a brief synopsis of the activities of the activities associated with the execution of the Academic and Student Services Sub-Programs of the FEP.

The Freshman Engineering Program at the University of Arkansas

During the 2007-2008 academic year, the University of Arkansas implemented the Freshman Engineering Program (FEP), a new first-year experience program for College of Engineering (CoE) students at the University of Arkansas. The mission of the FEP is to nurture the academic success, professional development, and individual growth of first-year engineering students by establishing the foundation for their excellence in the study and practice of engineering.

The FEP strives to be a national model for the first-year experience in engineering. In support of this vision, we strive to provide first-year engineering students with ≠ engaging and high-quality instruction in coursework that is relevant to the modern engineering student and is appropriate based on their individual K-12 preparation, ≠ meaningful experience in applying the engineering problem-solving approach and communicating their solutions to engineering problems, ≠ meaningful experience on diverse teams in applying the engineering design process and communicating their designs,

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