June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.205.1 - 13.205.11
Analysis of the Results of a Pilot Engineering and Engineering Technology Student Inventory Survey
To further understand differences between students with engineering and engineering technology preferences, identify skills being developed in introductory engineering courses, and refine marketing efforts, Penn State Altoona undertook a survey of lower-division students in several courses in spring semester 2007. Two surveys, one directed to engineering students and the other to engineering technology students, collected demographic data, information on study habits and extracurricular activities, perceptions of progress made in critical program areas (e.g. understanding the non-technical aspects of an engineering career or solving an open-ended problem), level of expertise in certain skills, and descriptions of relationships with advisors and other faculty and staff. For engineering students planning to transfer to the Penn State University Park campus for upper-division work, the survey also asked questions about the transfer process, and two final open-ended questions asked what could be done to support the transfer process and better aid students in their engineering studies while at the Altoona campus. The transfer open- ended question was not included in the technology survey, and some of the program content questions differed between the two groups.
The paper presents the results of the survey, contrasting the two groups, discusses how the information will be used to improve advising and other support services, and identifies how the results will influence the evolution of introductory courses as well as the programs in general.
In the past several years, engineering technology (ET) associate degree enrollments have declined across the twelve campuses offering such degrees in the Penn State system, a phenomenon also noted at other institutions.1 A number of Penn State campuses offer baccalaureate engineering technology degrees that for many years were structured as 2+2 programs – students earned an associate degree in two years and then in their junior year entered the baccalaureate program to be completed in an additional two years. In general, baccalaureate enrollments have been relatively stable in comparison to associate programs. To increase upper division enrollments and programs, address and evolve engineering and ET programs to respond to market demand, and improve retention, Penn State has developed a strategy to evolve engineering technology programs in concert with engineering programs. The strategy includes a common first year engineering /ET introductory engineering design course, in which students from both communities learn about the other, in addition to acquiring basic skills in graphics, computer tools and design.2
The University of Missouri Columbia and Penn State University Park were funded in 2006 by the National Science Foundation Division of Human Resource Development for a project called GSE/RES Assessing Women in Student Environments (AWISE); Moving Assessment of
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