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Analysis Of The Retention Of Students And Possible Recruitment Into Technology In A Common First Year Course For Engineering And Engineering Technology Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Recruiting, Retention and Diversity in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.241.1 - 12.241.10



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Paper Authors


Irene Ferrara Pennsylvania State University-Altoona

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Irene Ferrara, Pennsylvania State University
Irene Ferrara is the Coordinator for the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology program for the Altoona College of the Pennsylvania State University. She received her B.S. in Engineering Science from the Pennsylvania State University and her M.S. in Mechanics and Materials Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Address: 205 Force Technology Center, Penn State Altoona College, 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, PA 16601. Telephone: 814-949-5568, email:

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Andrew Vavreck Pennsylvania State University-Altoona

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Andrew Vavreck, Pennsylvania State University
Andrew Vavreck is Head of the Division of Business and Engineering at Penn State Altoona, and an Associate Professor of Engineering. In addition to his administrative duties, he teaches dynamics and engineering design, and his research is in smart materials, especially magnetorheological fluids, including fluid and device design and control. He received his B.S. in Engineering Science, his M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and his Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Mechanics, all from Penn State. Address: 214 Hawthorn Building, 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, PA 16601. Telephone: 814-949-5529, FAX: 814-949-5838, email:

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Analysis of the Retention of Students and Possible Recruitment into Technology in a Common First Year Course for Engineering and Engineering Technology Students Abstract

Estimates from the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University indicate that the percentage of freshmen accepted into the College of Engineering at that campus who complete a degree program in Engineering is approximately 33%. The percentage of students accepted in the College of Engineering who complete a degree program in another College is approximately 33%. The final third of these students is not accounted for; they are effectively lost to the university. A similar analysis for College of Engineering students who begin their degree programs at Penn State Altoona will be presented in this paper.

During the last academic year, Engineering Technology enrollments decreased at the Altoona campus. One proven method for increasing enrollments is to recruit Technology students from the theoretical majors in the College of Engineering.

Efforts to provide information to Engineering students regarding the full range of options available to them in the Penn State system, as well as the distinction between Engineering and Engineering Technology, began in earnest in spring of 2006. Even with minimal effort, it appears that students are receptive to considering major options. As each semester progresses, additional efforts are being made to provide students with the information and guidance they need to make informed decisions regarding their choice of major. To date, the majority of efforts have been linked to ED&G 100, an Introduction to Engineering Design course. Recent modifications to the course have been made with both recruitment of Engineering Technology students and retention of all students in both Engineering and Engineering Technology in mind. This paper will outline the activities conducted to date, as well as those planned for future semesters.

Though increasing enrollments is a goal, it is more of a side benefit than a primary aim. The primary goal is to make sure that students have a clear understanding of the options available to them so they can make informed decisions about which type of program is the best fit; which will allow them the highest level of enjoyment in their courses, academic program, and eventually, in their professional careers. It is our belief that Engineering and Engineering Technology are equal options; each suited to a different type of student. It really depends upon the particular student and his/her areas of interest and future goals which constitutes the better choice.


Penn State Altoona is one of nineteen satellite campuses in the Pennsylvania State University system, which maintains its administrative and research hub at the University Park campus. The Altoona campus is located approximately 45 miles southwest of University Park, and is the geographically closest of the satellite campuses in the Penn State system. With 150 acres and

Ferrara, I., & Vavreck, A. (2007, June), Analysis Of The Retention Of Students And Possible Recruitment Into Technology In A Common First Year Course For Engineering And Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1779

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: © 2007 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