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Effective First Year Engineering Program Improves Graduation Potential

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.247.1 - 5.247.6



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Paper Authors

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Richard J. Kee

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Riad Al Akkad

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


Effective First-Year Engineering Program Improves Graduation Potential

Richard J. Kee, Riad Al Akkad The University of Dayton


The problem of retaining students in a program of study in engineering has long been a problem for engineering educators. Shuman 1 notes that roughly fifty percent of the students who begin in engineering leave the field before receiving their engineering degree. Whitaker 2 states that programs of intervention aimed at identifying and treating these potential dropouts have grown dramatically. Additionally, Varma 3 demonstrates several programs that have proven to be effective for his institution.

Over the past five years, the School of Engineering at The University of Dayton has developed a multi-faceted program for first-year engineering students, a program that proves to be gaining a significant increase in retention. This integrated plan includes two different means of assistance made available to all first-year students, collaborative learning workshops and specialized advising. An introductory course in engineering design is a requirement for all first-year students and has proven to unfold the goals of the engineering discipline so that students gain clearer perception of their personal career goals. Additionally, two specialized programs oriented towards special-admit students and minority students were developed.

Collaborative Learning Workshops

All students are required to enroll in collaborative-learning workshops for a minimum of two hours per week for both semesters of the first year. These workshops offer support for the first- year engineering students in chemistry, mathematics, and physics and are held in School of Engineering study centers. Upper-class junior- and senior-level engineering students serve as facilitators in these workshops, interacting with the first-year students to guide them in the process of problem solving. This interaction builds a strong bond between first-year engineering students and their upper-class peers.

Kee, R. J., & Al Akkad, R. (2000, June), Effective First Year Engineering Program Improves Graduation Potential Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8327

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