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Best Practices of a Two Year Study on a Recruiting Program to Boost ECE Undergraduate Enrollment

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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

Recruitment, Retention, and First-Year Programs in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.285.1 - 22.285.17



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Paper Authors


James J. Sluss Jr. University of Oklahoma

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James J. Sluss, Jr., is the Morris R. Pitman Professor and Director of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He received the B.S. in Physics in 1984 from Marshall University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1986 and 1989, respectively, from the University of Virginia. His current research interests are in the areas of three-dimensional displays, optical communications, photonics, and intelligent transportation systems. He has been awarded 11 U.S. patents, has authored/co-authored over 100 journal and conference publications, and has been principal/co-principal investigator on over $16 million in sponsored research grants and contracts. He is a member of the SPIE, IEEE, OSA, and ASEE.

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Chad Eric Davis University of Oklahoma

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Chad Davis received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 2007. Since 2008 he has been a member of the ECE faculty at OU. He teaches courses in circuit analysis, electronics, signal processing, energy conversion, microprocessors, and electromechanical systems. He holds a dual discipline (electrical & mechanical) professional engineering license in the state of Oklahoma. His work experience ranges from electromechanical system design to automation of manufacturing and test processes.

Dr. Davis is a licensed private pilot and performs research primarily in areas related to aviation. His current research at OU involves the design and development of a new GPS Ground Based Augmentation System utilizing feedback control and the design of instrumentation and data acquisition for navigational systems. Additionally, he serves as the ECE recruiting coordinator and one of the primary academic advisers for ECE students.

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Mark B. Yeary University of Oklahoma

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Mark B. Yeary (S’95–M’00–SM’03) received the B.S. (honors), M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University (TAMU), College Station, in 1992, 1994, and 1999, respectively. Following his graduation in 1999, he was a member of the DSP group and a Lecturer with the Department of Electrical Engineering, TAMU, where he continued to lead a variety of industrially sponsored projects. Since Fall 2002, he has been with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Oklahoma (OU), Norman, where he is now an Associate Professor and member of the Atmospheric Radar Research Center. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of digital signal processing as applied to radars, atmospheric studies, image processing, adaptive filter design, and customized DSP systems. Dr. Yeary is a Member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society and the American Meteorological Society. In the past, he received the 1998 NSF/FIE New Faculty Fellow Award for excellence in teaching. He has received the IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer Award from the I&M Society in 2005 for contributions to radar systems measurements. He has also recently received OU’s Teaching Scholars Initiative Award in 2009. In 2010, he received the ASEE Midwest Section Distinguished Teaching award.

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Best Practices of a Two Year Study on a Recruiting Program to Boost ECE Undergraduate EnrollmentThis paper discusses an all encompassing approach to increase the number ofstudents in engineering through innovative outreach, recruiting, and retentionprograms. Prior to these programs, our university experienced a similar trend ofreduced enrollment that occurred across the nation in engineering. As a result,our Electrical and Computer (ECE) department investigated the key factors thatinfluence selection of engineering as a career path and initiated a correctiveprogram to reverse this trend. The program involves focusing on the presentthrough retention, the immediate future through recruiting, and the distant futurethrough outreach. The focus of all of these programs is to mobilize the ECEfaculty and student body to present advanced engineering technologies,innovative demonstrations, and hands-on activities at a level that the individualstudent can understand and appreciate.Prior to our innovative program, our enrollment numbers were relativelycorrelated with national trends, as observed from the latest “National Center forEducation Statistics” data. Between the 2003/04 to 2005/06 academic cycles itshowed that the total number of bachelor’s degrees granted rose by 6%, whilethe number of Engineering and Computer Science bachelor’s degrees droppedby 6%. Our ECE department also lost students during this time period. From thefall of 2004 to the fall of 2008 our undergraduate enrollment numbers dropped anaverage of 9% per year. After the first year of implementing the corrective actionprogram in 2008, the numbers rose by 18%. Student surveys and interviews areused to qualitatively assess the program and ECE enrollment numbers are usedas a quantitative assessment. Our full conference paper will share our resultsand successful lessons learned. For example, the final and most important stepof our multi-layer process was to get the ECE student body involved.

Sluss, J. J., & Davis, C. E., & Yeary, M. B. (2011, June), Best Practices of a Two Year Study on a Recruiting Program to Boost ECE Undergraduate Enrollment Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17566

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