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Board 112: Understanding and Diversifying Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees: Preliminary Findings on Engineering Transfer Students’ Perception of the Transfer Process

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Andrea M. Ogilvie P.E. Texas A&M University

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Andrea M. Ogilvie, P.E. ( serves as Assistant Dean for Student Success and Assistant Professor of Instruction at Texas A&M University. Since 2013, her research has focused on engineering transfer students and their experiences at both sending and receiving institutions. To further enhance understanding of this unique student population, her research explores differences across subgroups of engineering transfer students. Andrea Ogilvie has multiple degrees in engineering and public affairs from UT Austin (BSCE, MPAff) and Virginia Tech (MS ISE, PhD).

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David B. Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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David Knight is Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of International Engagement in Engineering Education and affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program at Virginia Tech. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive.

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Maura J. Borrego University of Texas, Austin

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Maura Borrego is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She previously served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education, and as an associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate programs. Her research awards include U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and two outstanding publication awards from the American Educational Research Association for her journal articles. Dr. Borrego is Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education. All of Dr. Borrego’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her M.S. and Ph.D. are from Stanford University, and her B.S. is from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Arturo A. Fuentes University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

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Arturo Alejandro Fuentes is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas Pan American. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from Rice University. Among his research interests are nano-reinforced composites, dynamic response analysis, non-destructive evaluation, and engineering education. Among his teaching responsibilities are Finite Element Method, Mechanical Vibrations, and Introduction to Mechanical Engineering at the undergraduate level, and Structural Dynamics, Advanced Mechanics of Materials, and Finite Element Analysis at the graduate level.

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Funded by the NSF Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC).

With recent calls and a current movement for more research that uses an anti-deficit approach to understand the experiences of students historically underrepresented in higher education [1,2], researchers commonly draw on theories of capital (e.g. cultural, social) to explain differences in how students navigate and experience the higher education system (e.g., Martin, Simmons, & Yu, 2013) [3]. A unique form of capital that has gained traction with researchers who specialize in the study of community college students is the concept of transfer student capital (TSC) [4]. Coined by Laanan in 2006, TSC is defined as the accumulation of knowledge about higher education that develops in a student as he or she interacts with faculty, receives academic advising/counseling, studies for coursework, navigates through university transfer policies to fulfill academic requirements, and proceeds through the transfer process from a 2-year institution to a 4-year institution [5]. In his prior work, Laanan posits that relationships may exist between transfer students’ post-transfer transition experiences and their prior accumulation of TSC. On this premise, Laanan suggests that transfer students’ accumulation of TSC can be activated to enhance (or ease) the post-transfer transition process at receiving institutions [5].

Our investigation of transfer student pathways to engineering degrees is motivated and informed by Laanan’s prior research. The purpose of this research is to identify constructs that emerge when operationalizing the concept of transfer student capital in an engineering context. Part of a larger mixed methods research investigation funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF EEC Grant No. 1428502), this study draws on survey data from a sample of 1,070 engineering transfer students who transferred to one of four 4-year Texas institutions as new engineering students between 2007 and 2014. Research sites include four of the top ten producers of U.S. Hispanic/Latino engineers; the framework of transfer student capital was used to organize this study's data collection and analytical plan.

For our 2018 ASEE poster, we explore engineering transfer students’ reflective responses to questions about their perceptions of the transfer processes; it represents an area of investigation that falls under the Transfer Student Capital component of Laanan’s research framework. Through our analyses, we identify emergent constructs and explore differences across subgroups of transfer students (i.e., type of institution - selective versus open enrollment; type of transfer pathway - lateral versus vertical; student status as Hispanic/Latino; student status as first generation). This work feeds into analytical models that will explore relationships between transfer student capital and: 1) outcome variables (academic achievement and degree attainment), and 2) adjustment variables for engineering transfer students [6,7,8].

Ogilvie, A. M., & Knight, D. B., & Borrego, M. J., & Fuentes, A. A. (2018, June), Board 112: Understanding and Diversifying Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees: Preliminary Findings on Engineering Transfer Students’ Perception of the Transfer Process Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29881

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