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Developing a Sustainable Collaboration Between a Four-Year and a Two-Year College to Enhance Student Access into Mechanical Engineering

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5B: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Colin J. Reagle George Mason University

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Colin Reagle joined George Mason University in January 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering specializing in the area of thermal fluid flows and sustainable energy. He is working to build the mechanical engineering program through teaching, research, and community outreach. Colin received his doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech in mechanical engineering (2007, 2009, 2012).

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Oscar Barton Jr. George Mason University

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Oscar Barton, Jr., Ph.D, P.E. is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University A native of Washington, D.C., Professor Barton received his B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Tuskegee (Institute) University, his M.S in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D degree in Applied Mechanics from Howard University. Dr. Barton joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering Department at George Mason University fall 2014, after completing a 22 year career at the U.S. Naval Academy. His research focuses on the development of approximate closed form solutions for linear self-adjoint systems, those that govern the responses of composite structures, and the analysis of dynamic systems. More recently, He has mentored numerous midshipmen through independent research projects and has directed two Trident Scholars, the Naval Academy's flagship research program. He has published over 50 journal and conference articles on these topics.

Dr. Barton is actively involved in curriculum development and program assessment. He chairs ASME Committee on Engineering Accreditation. He serves a Commissioner for Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. and was a program evaluator for 6 six years prior to joining the commission. Dr. Barton holds a professional engineering license in the State Maryland. He is a member of the Board of Education, ASME.

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Kenneth S. Ball P.E. George Mason University

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Ken Ball is Dean of the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He received his BSME degree from Lehigh University, his MSME and PhD in mechanical engineering from Drexel University, and completed post-doctoral studies in applied mathematics at Brown University. He previously served as the L.S. Randolph Professor and Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech from 2004-2012, and was Temple Foundation Endowed Faculty Fellow in Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin from 1989-2004.

Ken has been an active member of ASEE since 1992. He is currently the Campus Representative Coordinator for the Southeast Section of ASEE, and also serves on the ASEE Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Ken has been involved in the ASEE Public Policy Colloquium the past four years, and is a member of the ASEE Deans Public Policy Committee. Ken is a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas and a member of NSPE. He is also active in the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, and is involved in legislative initiatives and public policy issues at both the state and local levels.

Ken is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a Fellow of ASME. He served on the Executive Committee of the ASME Department Heads Committee from 2006-2012, and was Secretary and Vice-Chair Elect. He is an ABET Program Evaluator and a Commissioner on the Engineering Accreditation Commission. He also serves on the ASME Board on Education’s Committee on Engineering Accreditation. In 2012, he was awarded the Edwin F. Church Medal by ASME for “eminent service in increasing the value, importance, and attractiveness of mechanical engineering education.” He has published over 100 technical articles and has obtained funding in excess of $20M for research projects and educational program development in engineering.

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Sharon A. Caraballo George Mason University


Abe Eftekhari

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Abe Eftekhari.

Ph.D. in Mathematical Science, University of Texas
M.S. in Nuclear Engineering, MIT.

Abe Eftekhari has is presently the Dean for Mathematics, Science & Engineering at NVCC (since July 2007). He is also a Environmental/Energy consultant with Picket Consulting and On-Location.
He served as the Chairperson of the Computer Science and Information Technology Department of Southeastern University (1998 - 2007).
Before joining SEU, he was the Chief Scientist responsible for Research and Development Programs at Mnemonic Systems (FBI pattern recognition contracts) in Washington, DC. (1996 - 1998).
He has worked as a Research Scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center while teaching at Hampton University as a full professor (1989 - 1996).
Principal Engineer at Reuters Information Service in Long Island (1987 - 1988).
Bio-mathematician at the Cornell University Medical College (1985 - 1987).
Postdoc./Physics Lecturer at UTA (1982 – 1985).
Manager of the training department at Bell Operation Corporation -Textron in Hurst, Texas (1978 - 1980).

Abe Eftekhari is also an adjunct member of the faculties of Johns Hopkins University, George Mason University, George Washington University, and the Maryland University. His previous teaching positions were with Hampton University, Dowling College, Tarrent County Junior College, and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Abe Eftekhari has been recipient of several research grants from NSF, NASA, Space Grant Consortium, and NIH. In recent years he has been the Principal Investigator of three research grants in data-mining, satellite communication and Web-enabled Intelligent Tutoring System.
Abe Eftekhari publishes in Physics and Material Science Journals under the subject of “Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy and Micro/Nano-structural Characteristics of Material”. He has patented five inventions, including a table-top low-energy positron accelerator apparatus.

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Rodolfo Napisa

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The nation’s network of two-year community colleges was created initially in order to support the educational aspirations of those high school graduates interested in pursuing careers in the occupational and technical communities. More recently, community colleges are viewed as a platform for those seeking to further their educational pursuits by completing their studies at four-year institutions. With affordable, diverse offerings of programs from engineering to nursing, two-year community colleges have become attractive for not only traditional students but also for nontraditional students as well as for some underrepresented minorities and first generation college students who are unfamiliar with the collegiate academic landscape. Recognizing this value-added proposition, as well as the opportunity for community colleges to have an impact on the demand to produce more STEM graduates, efforts are now focused on improving the learning experiences of students matriculating through their programs. In this paper, we present one such effort to establish a sustainable collaboration between the School of Engineering at a four year university and the Mathematics, Science and Engineering Division at two-year community college to meet the demand to produce more STEM graduates and to increase the diversity of those graduates. With a goal of expanding to multiple departments, the collaboration was initially piloted in the mechanical engineering department and consists of a Dual Admission Compact agreement, referred to as the Compact, to increase access and engagement between the two constituent student bodies. Key elements of the Compact include a revised curriculum framework to improve transition between the schools, and an enhanced assessment and evaluation effort to identify common student outcomes and assess their levels of attainment. Two cohorts of students – those admitted directly as first year students into the four-year institution and those who will enter from the two-year college via the Compact – are monitored for student efficacy and student success.

Reagle, C. J., & Barton, O., & Ball, K. S., & Caraballo, S. A., & Eftekhari, A., & Napisa, R. (2016, June), Developing a Sustainable Collaboration Between a Four-Year and a Two-Year College to Enhance Student Access into Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26734

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