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Board # 113 : Understanding and Diversifying Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees: An Update on Project Findings

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27695

Download Count

67

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Paper Authors

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Andrea M. Ogilvie P.E. Virginia Tech

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Andrea M. Ogilvie, P.E. is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Currently, she is investigating “Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees” through a multi-institutional study based in Texas and funded by NSF (EEC-1428502). Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Andrea served as the Director of the Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) Program at The University of Texas at Austin for 11 years. During her term, she raised $3.7 million-plus in private and public grants to support the EOE program and its mission. Andrea holds multiple degrees in engineering and public affairs from UT Austin (BSCE, MPAff) and Virginia Tech (MS ISE, PhD ENGE). Her expertise includes: program management, program assessment, university-industry partnerships, grant writing, and student development in the co-curricular learning environment with a special focus on recruiting, supporting, and graduating students from groups historically underrepresented in engineering.

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David B Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David Knight is an Assistant Professor and Director of International Engagement in the Department of Engineering Education and affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program, Center for Human-Computer Interaction, and Human-Centered Design Program. His research focuses on student learning outcomes in undergraduate engineering, learning analytics approaches to improve educational practices and policies, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, organizational change in colleges and universities, and international issues in higher education.

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Maura J. Borrego University of Texas, Austin

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Maura Borrego is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. She previously served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and 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 and served on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education as Chair of Professional Interest Council IV. 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 a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 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 Engineering Mechanics at the undergraduate level, and Structural Dynamics, Advanced Mechanics of Materials, and Finite Element Analysis at the graduate level.

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Patricia A. Nava P.E. University of Texas, El Paso

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Dr. Patricia A. Nava is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). In her role at the college, she focuses on many facets of undergraduate student success. She holds a B.S.E.E., an M.S.E.E. and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, and has experience working in government, industry, and academic sectors. Dr. Nava has held academic positions at universities in four different states, and has garnered over 14 awards for her accomplishments in teaching, including the UT Chancellor’s Council Award, and the UT Regents’ Award.

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Valarie E. Taylor Texas A&M University

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Valerie Taylor is the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and a Regents Professor and the Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. In 2003, she joined Texas A&M University as the Department Head of CSE, where she remained in that position until 2011. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Dr. Taylor was a member of the faculty in the EECS Department at Northwestern University for eleven years. She is also the Executive Director of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT). Dr. Taylor is an IEEE Fellow.

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Abstract

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology documented the need to prepare more than 1 million additional STEM professionals in the U.S. workforce over the next decade, primarily through efforts focused on increasing retention rates and diversifying pathways. To meet this need, we must tap the entire domestic talent pool, including underrepresented minorities. According to data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, 57% of Hispanic students and 52% of African American students in undergraduate education during Fall 2014 were enrolled in 2-year public colleges. Given that more ethnic/racial minorities begin their pursuit of higher education at schools other than 4-year institutions, it is critical that we improve transfer pathways into engineering.

The purpose of this mixed methods research was to develop a clearer understanding of transfer student pathways as a means to increase engineering degree production and broaden participation in engineering careers. The study sites for this research included 4 of the top 10 producers of U.S. Hispanic engineers, and all are based in Texas: The University of Texas at El Paso, Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Our study expands the small body of literature on engineering transfer students and sheds light on specific policies and practices that impact transfer.

Specifically, our investigation addressed the following research questions: 1.) How does transfer student capital relate to academic achievement and degree attainment for transfer engineering students at 4-year institutions? 2.) How do Hispanic and non-Hispanic transfer students compare on measures of transfer student capital and its relation to academic achievement and degree attainment? 3.) How do students decide to transfer into engineering at a 4-year institution? 4.) What institutional policies facilitate success and enable transfer pathways into engineering at 4-year universities? 5.) How do institutions hinder transfer students in their transitions into engineering at 4-year universities?

To address these research questions, the project was organized in two sequential phases: 1) a quantitative phase with survey data collected from 1,070 students and alumni who successfully made the transfer to a four-year engineering school combined with student performance data from institutional records for each respondent, and 2) a qualitative phase that gathered data via 18 semi-structured focus groups with 84 students, administrators, faculty, and staff who were either transfer students or whose university roles require interaction with and support of transfer students. Focus groups were held at each four-year institution as well as at their partner community colleges, which allowed for investigations of the system from both the 4-year and community college perspectives. The objectives of these interviews were to identify: 1) institutional policies and practices that facilitate success and enable transfer pathways into engineering at 4-year universities for transfer students, 2) ways institutions hinder transfer students in their transition to engineering at 4-year universities, and 3) ways institutions help students accumulate and leverage their transfer student capital. With all data collected as of Summer 2016, our NSF Grantees poster will provide an update on project findings.

Ogilvie, A. M., & Knight, D. B., & Borrego, M. J., & Fuentes, A. A., & Nava, P. A., & Taylor, V. E. (2017, June), Board # 113 : Understanding and Diversifying Transfer Student Pathways to Engineering Degrees: An Update on Project Findings Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27695

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