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Emphasizing Student Development In The Introduction To Engineering Sequence

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.415.1 - 6.415.5

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John Williams

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

Session 2793

Emphasizing Student Development in the Introduction to Engineering Sequence

John Williams

Mechanical Engineering Division Alfred University Alfred, NY 14802


Engineering education is facing several new challenges with entering engineering freshmen. The process of education is evolving and issues are arising in terms of changing learning styles, skill levels upon entering, level of commitment to the study of engineering, and a lack of student’s self understanding. Students are not aware of the demands of the engineering curriculum and most struggle in terms of how to be successful.

To address these concerns, the Introduction to Engineering sequence was modified to incorporate a significant component of “student development”. Students review basic skills and learn new engineering tools while developing an understanding of the field and the demands of engineering. Focus is placed on community building, class participation and interaction, time management, study habits, problem solving, and goal setting. Initially, outcome assessment will be measured in the short term by the response of students in their end of semester course evaluations. Long term assessment will be through a comparison of grade point averages and retention rates. The statistics will be compiled for a minimum of 2 graduating classes.


New students are unaware of the rigors of a college education. Poor study habits that were adequate in high school quickly get most students into trouble. While keeping up with the “freshman experience”, they struggle with academic success. This combined with the lack of direction leads to frustration and a feeling of resentment towards the demands of the curriculum.

During deliberations by the faculty, a change in student attitude and behavior was a consistent theme. Learning styles were changing and students were less receptive to standard lecture techniques. Some students were unwilling to expend sufficient effort on their own out of class and lacked any drive to excel academically. They displayed a disturbing lack of caring about their future. Also, some students clearly entered engineering without a specific plan or goal. Most students failed to accept responsibility for their own program of study.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ž 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Williams, J. (2001, June), Emphasizing Student Development In The Introduction To Engineering Sequence Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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