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Camping The Way To Higher Retention Rates

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring First Year Students

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.256.1 - 15.256.11

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Paper Authors

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Steve Rippon Arizona State University

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James Collofello Arizona State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Camping the Way to Higher Retention Rates


Freshman retention is a top priority in nearly all engineering schools. Increased retention optimizes new- school rankings, and and experts in the field agree on a number of basic tenants of retention. Topmost are the tenants of creating community amongst freshmen, bonding freshmen with returning students, creating opportunities for meaningful interaction between freshmen and faculty both in and outside of the classroom, helping freshmen understand and internalize the vision and mission of the school, and pply their academic experience both as undergraduates and after graduation.

In the summer of 2008, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) made a strategic decision to take deliberate action towards improving the undergraduate student experience by requiring all incoming freshmen to attend a three day/two night camp in the local mountains approximately one hundred miles from campus prior to the start of the fall semester. Engineering School designed E2 Camp to be the cornerstone of a new engineering freshmen experience. With the bold steps that the Engineering School is taking to impact the success of its undergraduate students through a highly interactive curriculum, more experiential learning opportunities, problem-based learning, and opportunities to conduct high- level and impactful research E2 Camp is a meaningful and successful way to welcome new freshmen to the engineering family and the dynamic experiences they will have as engineering students.

This paper defines the rational for requiring E2 camp and the objectives of the camp. It also provides details on the logistics and cost of the camp. Finally the paper provides assessment data for the two years that the camp has been held.


Educators and industry alike have well documented their concerns about the future of engineering in the United States due to a decline of engineering graduates.1 Increasing the number of engineering graduates requires both an increase in the number of students choosing to study engineering as well as an increase in engineering student retention. Engineering programs have struggled with retention issues for decades with many programs reporting that 30-40% of students leave engineering after the freshmen year. Numerous studies indicate the many factors that impact retention 2,3,4.

Rippon, S., & Collofello, J. (2010, June), Camping The Way To Higher Retention Rates Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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