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Developing Competencies For Engineering Foundations Courses

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.181.1 - 4.181.5

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Nadia A. Basaly

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

Session 2563

Developing Competencies For Engineering Foundations Courses

Nadia A. Basaly, Ph.D. The university of Texas at Brownsville College of Science, Math and Technology Brownsville, TX 78520


Pre-college Minority Engineering Program has been designed to motivate and prepare minority middle and high school students for careers in science and engineering. The Program, called “Tex-PREP,” is an aggressive, pro active outreach system that introduces a joint curriculum between science, math and technology to help students become successful in their future careers. Our goal within this program is to provide a summer workshop that attracts students to science and engineering. The workshop has been conducted at the University of Texas at Brownsville after developing vital competencies to help students become successful engineers in the future. This paper discusses the competencies that have been practiced through a developed course called “Foundation for Engineers.” The course has been offered as part of the Tex-PREP program that is funded by NSF. The course targets students from 8th to 11th grades. The students in this stage always have lots of confusion about their choices of being an engineer, a lawyer, or any other professional in the future. Therefore, the strategies of teaching this course went through many stages. First, providing awareness of practical life of all kind of engineers and answering all puzzles in the students’ mind about engineering. Second, setting competencies that can help students to master problem solving as well as basic skill enrichment. Third, developing the course activities and materials that practice all competencies. This strategy was the key to increased enrollment in engineering. A Final Exam at the end of the course proved that the new strategy is the most effective way to influence student commitment and positive attitude toward engineering.

1. Introduction

Tex-PREP is identified as the Texas Pre-Freshmen Engineering Program which offers an academically intense seven weeks program that stresses the development of abstract reasoning skills, and problem solving skills as well as awareness of career opportunities in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET). This program is designed to provide educational enrichment for high-ability middle and secondary school students who are in the confusion stage about their future careers. At the conclusion of the program the participants will have a clear understanding of the opportunities available to them. The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) offers courses that improve the retention, success rate and graduation rate of students in middle and high schools, as well as courses for college credit for advanced students. The main emphasis of the program is to recruit students from economically disadvantaged families who have strong desire to succeed in SMET, but are held back because of the need to work and help the family, especially during summer.

Basaly, N. A. (1999, June), Developing Competencies For Engineering Foundations Courses Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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