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Assessment of First-Year Experiences at SJSU

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

FPD XI: Assessing First-Year Programs, Experiences, and Communities

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.255.1 - 22.255.13



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Paper Authors


Patricia R. Backer San Jose State University

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Patricia Backer is a professor of Technology and the Director of General Engineering at SJSU. In 1997, she received a Fulbright Scholar award in Peru where she taught on the topics of computer-based multimedia. At SJSU, she is involved in developing and assessing outreach programs to increase the number of underrepresented students in engineering.

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Emily L. Allen San Jose State University

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College of Engineering

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Janet Sundrud San Jose State University

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Janet Sundrud is a graduate student in the Department of Communication Studies. She specializes in performance theory, queer identities, gender equality, and critical assessment. Since 2008, she has worked with the SJSU College of Engineering on several college-wide initiatives, including the development and assessment of FYE courses.

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Assessment of First Year Experiences at SJSUAbstractWith nearly 5,000 students, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering (CoE) at San JoséState University (SJSU) is the largest provider of engineers to Silicon Valley companies and isranked 12th among engineering programs for master’s-level institutions in the 2009 U.S. News &World Report's listing of "America’s Best Colleges."Our overarching theoretical model for student retention is based on Tinto’s model. We adaptedthis model, based on additional research, to address the needs of students at SJSU. According tothis model, effective and positive interactions in college should increase the student’scommitment and effort in college, and thereby, increase student retention.To increase student retention in engineering programs, CoE offers two first-year experience(FYE) courses and several co-curricular FYE programs.  ENGR 8 (Engineering Success) facilitates changes in students’ behaviors and attitudes as they relate to the following areas: (1) orientation to college; (2) community building; (3) professional development; (4) academic development; and (5) personal development.  ENGR 10 (Introduction to Engineering), is designed to allow students to explore engineering through hands-on design projects, case studies, and problem-solving using computers. Students learn about various aspects of the engineering profession and acquire both technical skills and non-technical skills, in areas such as communication, team work, and engineering ethics.  The Community for Engineering Learning and Living (CELL) program makes building a strong support group easier for students by housing them together, where they immerse themselves in all aspects of engineering life and collaborate with peers studying in their same discipline.  The Engineering Learning Community for Academic Success (ELCAS) program provides a supportive environment for engineering freshmen computer students through a cohort system.  MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) Engineering Program (MEP) supports educationally disadvantaged and first-generation college students seeking degrees in engineering or computer science.This paper will discuss our continued efforts to increase retention and graduation rates. We willpresent the assessment of our FYE programs and discuss the integration of these efforts at ouruniversity.

Backer, P. R., & Allen, E. L., & Sundrud, J. (2011, June), Assessment of First-Year Experiences at SJSU Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17536

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