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Comparing The Success Of Two Year College Students With Students With Other Academic Backgrounds In A Non Traditional Engineering Program

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.153.1 - 5.153.9



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Nancy A. Shields

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Joseph M. Pietroburgo

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

Session 2586

Comparing the Success of Two-Year College Students and Students With Other Academic Backgrounds in a Non-traditional Engineering Program Nancy Shields and Joseph Pietroburgo UM-St. Louis/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program


Historically, there has been considerable interest among educators in factors that influence community college students to transfer to four-year institutions and pursue baccalaureate degrees (Dworkin, 1966). Naturally, there has also been interest in what determines whether or not these students will be successful (Cantrell, et al., 1966; Keith, 1966; Laanan, 1996; Lieberman and Hungar, 1998). Kraemer (1966) found that students with higher mathematics ability at entrance to the community college and students who intended to transfer were more likely to transfer successfully. Even though many believe that community college transfer students do not do as well as four-year “native” students, the data which exist on this question suggest that they actually do about as well (Susskind, 1996).

Although there has been interest in community college transfer students in general, little is known about community college students who transfer into four-year engineering programs. Because the community college offers many students an educational opportunity they might not otherwise have, this is an important question. This study reports on the academic success of a group of community college transfer students from 1993-1999 in a unique engineering program, and compares them with native students and students transferring from four-year schools. This study also compares the academic performance of a group of non-traditional engineering students with a group of highly traditional engineering students over the 1998-99 academic year.

Description of the Joint Program

The UM-St. Louis/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program provides a unique context for evaluating the success of community college transfer students, as well as transfer students from four-year institutions, in a rigorous engineering program. The Joint Program was established in 1992, and is a cooperative arrangement between UM-St. Louis and Washington University. The Program offers degrees in mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering. The Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science is highly ranked nationally, and has been in existence for over 125 years. Furthermore, the Joint Program has formal articulation agreements with all of the community colleges in the greater St. Louis area.

Students complete their pre-engineering requirements at UM-St. Louis, a community college, or another institution, and then (with an acceptable GPA) are admitted to the Joint Program. Once admitted to the Joint Program, students take their upper-level engineering courses on the Washington University campus. All upper-level students take the same courses, with the same faculty, in the same facilities, and are evaluated according to the same grading standards as Washington University undergraduates. Students pay UM-St. Louis tuition, and

Shields, N. A., & Pietroburgo, J. M. (2000, June), Comparing The Success Of Two Year College Students With Students With Other Academic Backgrounds In A Non Traditional Engineering Program Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8217

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