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Do Engineering Freshmen Find Value In Extracurricular Seminars Designed To Enhance Collegiate Success?

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Recruiting, Retention & Advising

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.485.1 - 10.485.10



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Paper Authors

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Frank Jacobitz

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Kathleen Kramer

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Rick Olson

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

Do Engineering Freshmen Find Value in Extracurricular Seminars Designed to Enhance Collegiate Success?

Rick T. Olson, Frank G. Jacobitz, Kathleen A. Kramer University of San Diego


To improve retention and student success, freshmen at the University of San Diego participate in a preceptorial program. Through this program students are ensured to have one regular academic class having fewer than 20 students taught by a professor having particular interest in helping first-year students succeed. All freshmen students expressing an interest in engineering enroll in a preceptorial section of ENGR 101: Introduction to Engineering. Recently, an optional Passport to Success program has been added as an enhancement to the preceptorial program offering informal sessions on topics ranging from test-taking strategies, to developing personal relationships, to an introduction to cultural opportunities in San Diego.

During the Fall 2004 semester three ENGR 101 sections addressed the Passport program in different ways. One section required students to participate in specific sessions primarily centered on academic success. A second session required students to participate, but placed no restrictions on which sessions should be attended. The third section did not incorporate the Passport program. At the end of the semester students were asked to assess the degree to which they feel prepared for academic success and other personal challenges during their college careers.

This paper will introduce the Passport to Success program and how it is implemented across the University. Details regarding adoption in ENGR 101 will be presented. The effect of the Passport program on engineering student perceptions of their preparation for a successful collegiate career will be discussed.

Introduction and Background

The preceptorial method of teaching was introduced by Woodrow Wilson when he was the President of Princeton University in 19051. As originally developed, preceptorial courses included a high degree of personal interaction between the instructor (or preceptor) and the students (precepts). Rather than rely on a traditional lecture, the preceptors guide the students learning of the subject matter by assigning readings and conducting less formal, more open- ended discussions or seminars. In 1973, the University of San Diego (USD) implemented a freshmen Preceptorial Program as one approach to improving student retention across campus. At USD, the cornerstone of the program is the grouping of 16-20 students into preceptorial sections of regular academic classes. Typically, students are placed in preceptorial sections of courses for which they have expressed an interest. These sections are restricted to freshmen and

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Jacobitz, F., & Kramer, K., & Olson, R. (2005, June), Do Engineering Freshmen Find Value In Extracurricular Seminars Designed To Enhance Collegiate Success? Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15084

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015