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Creating a Culture of Student-driven ECE Recruiting and Retention

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Recruitment, Retention, and First-year Programs in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.350.1 - 25.350.14



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Paper Authors


Chad Eric Davis P.E. University of Oklahoma

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Chad E. Davis received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, M.S. degree in electrical engineering, and Ph.D. degree in engineering from the University of Oklahoma (OU), Norman, in 1994, 2000, and 2007, respectively. Since 2008, he has been a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) faculty, University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining the OU-ECE faculty, he worked in industry at Uponor (Tulsa, Okla.), McElroy Manufacturing (Tulsa, Okla.), Lucent (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Celestica (Oklahoma City, Okla.), and Boeing (Midwest City, Okla.). His work experience ranges from electromechanical system design to automation of manufacturing and test processes. His research at OU involves GPS ground-based augmentation systems utilizing feedback control. Davis holds a dual discipline (electrical and mechanical) professional engineering license in the state of Oklahoma. He currently serves as the Faculty Advisor for Robotics club at OU and the Recruitment Coordinator for OU-ECE. He received the Provost's Outstanding Academic Advising Award in 2010 at OU.

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David F. Vreeland University of Oklahoma

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David Vreeland is an electrical engineering sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. He has served as President of the OU Robotics Club, Captain of the IEEE Region 5 robotics competition team, Chair of Sooner Competitive Robotics, and an Officer in the general-purpose Engineers' Club. With these organizations, he has regularly experienced the challenges and rewards of student involvement first-hand. In 2010, he won the President’s Award for Outstanding Freshmen at OU. His future includes an internship with Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems during the summer of 2012.

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Christopher Robert Griffin University of Oklahoma

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Christopher Griffin is an electrical engineering senior at the University of Oklahoma, graduating in May 2012. During his time at the university, he has held the position of President for both IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu, giving him the opportunity to develop leadership skills, along with student recruiting and retention techniques. The primary focus of his studies at OU has been in power systems, and he will be joining the ExxonMobil Corporation in Baton Rouge, La., upon graduation.

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Mark B. Yeary P.E. University of Oklahoma

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Mark B. Yeary 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 University of Oklahoma (OU)’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he has been recently named the endowed Hudson-Torchmark Presidential Professor. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of digital signal processing as applied to radars, atmospheric studies, customized DSP systems, and interdisciplinary pedagogy. He has served as a PI or Co-PI on grants from NASA, NSF-ATM, NSF-DUE, NSF-ECCS, DoD-EPSCoR, NOAA-CSTAR, NOAA-NSSL, LMCO, Raytheon, and DoD-AF. 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. He has received OU’s Teaching Scholars Initiative Award in 2009. In 2010, he received the ASEE Midwest Section Distinguished Teaching award. By invitation, he was selected to participate in the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s Foundations of Engineering Education Symposium in 2010. Yeary is a Faculty Fellow of OU’s Sooner Engineering Education Center (SEED), a founding member of the Atmospheric Radar Research Center (ARRC), and the Faculty Advisor for AISES at OU.

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Creating a Culture of Student-Driven ECE Recruiting and RetentionThis is a continuation of a 2011 ASEE publication that focused on methodologies in ECErecruitment. This paper will complete the previous work by providing details on ECEretention best practices and look deeper into the role that student culture plays inrecruiting and retention. While this study occurred in an ECE department, most aspectswill translate to any engineering discipline.In the fall of 2008, our ECE department declined to 250 undergraduate enrollments. Asdescribed in the previous paper, the details of the declining trend were similar to overallengineering enrollment declines in the U.S. In response, a corrective action program wascreated to improve recruiting and retention practices. As of the fall 2011 reportingperiod, the number of ECE undergraduates enrolled in our ECE department is 345. Oneof the primary reasons for this 38% increase in just three years is a drastic change in thestudent culture. Prior to 2008, our ECE students had minimal involvement in recruitingand retention. Since 2008, a radical change has been made that resulted in studentsdriving the process. One of these students is a co-author of this paper and will give astudent perspective on the dynamics of the culture change that occurred in ourdepartment. Active student organizations were the primary vehicle used by our ECEdepartment to create this culture change. Data will be presented that correlates studentorganization involvement to recruiting and retention. Furthermore, our retentionprograms that were only briefly mentioned in previous work will be discussed in detailand tied to the student culture theme of this paper.The assessment methods of this paper will be both quantitative and qualitative.Quantitatively, enrollment and retention statistics of all ECE students in our departmentand the subset of ECE National Merit Scholars will be used. Additionally, student groupmembership and enrollment will be studied. Finally, a qualitative assessment will beperformed using student surveys and interviews. We hope our experiences will helpother ECE and engineering departments reverse declining enrollment trends.

Davis, C. E., & Vreeland, D. F., & Griffin, C. R., & Yeary, M. B. (2012, June), Creating a Culture of Student-driven ECE Recruiting and Retention Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21108

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