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Creating Linkages Between University and Technology Education Programs

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Descriptions of Curricular and Model Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.396.1 - 22.396.5



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Paper Authors


John Marshall University of Southern Maine

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John Marshall received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is the Departmental Internship Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specialization include Power and Energy Processing, Applied Process Control Engineering, Automation, Fluid Power, and Facility Planning.

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Increasing Enrollments and Diversity with K-12 Outreach ActivitiesToo few high school students understand that an engineering career path can genuinelybe exciting and neat. Some have the short-term view that good paying jobs are plentiful,so why take the really difficult courses. Many sell their own abilities short and convincethemselves that it is too difficult a career path. And still others conjure up the image of adirty, dull, dangerous, and demeaning factory floor and run (not walk) in the otherdirection. An even greater challenge than increasing enrollments for our University isattracting diverse students to our programs.Based on recent statistics, 95.4 % of the University’s student population was“White/Non-Hispanic”. In an effort to increase our total enrollments and also address ourlack of racial diversity, we found a very “reachable” population in the local publicschools. The public school student population in the region is in fact significantly morediverse with a “White/Non-Hispanic” population of 80.81%. In both instances thebalance of the populations were comprised of Blacks, American Indian, Asian/PacificIslander, and Hispanic.The method selected to increase our student quantity and diversity was to provideexciting technical exposures to high school students via their existing curriculums such astechnology education, science, math and physics. The purpose of this paper is todocument an actual case study and to share with participants an exciting “pre-engineering” module that has been successfully used to build bridges that link highschool students to engineering and technical career paths.The activity module uses an inexpensive brick PLC, switches for inputs, and lights,buzzers, and small motors as outputs. These modules can be fabricated on a “shoe-string”budget, are easily interfaced with electrical and pneumatic components, and are verytransportable. An actual PLC module with input and output devices will be on hand forparticipant interaction.The design and fabrication of the modules was a college-based class activity, and thesecondary educators were thrilled to have a “plug and play” module that genuinelyturned-on their students to engineering. This is definitely one of those win/win initiativesthat can provide an enjoyable, meaningful class project, and at the same time establish apipeline for recruiting talented incoming majors!This presentation discusses several very successful relationships that have beendeveloped between a university and local high schools by implementing a simple andexciting “pre-engineering” activity module. This strong recruiting tool has provided apipeline of diverse and talented new students into the university program, and continuesto grow with amazing success.

Marshall, J. (2011, June), Creating Linkages Between University and Technology Education Programs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17677

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