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Engaging Early Engineering Students (EEES): A Fourth Year Report from an NSF STEP Project

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD 3: Research on First-Year Courses

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

24

Page Numbers

23.488.1 - 23.488.24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19502

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Jon Sticklen Michigan State University

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Jon Sticklen is the Director of the Center for Engineering Education Research at Michigan State University. Dr. Sticklen is also Director of Applied Engineering Sciences, an undergraduate bachelor of science degree program in the MSU College of Engineering that focuses both on engineering and business. He also is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Dr. Sticklen formerly led a laboratory in knowledge-based systems focused on task specific approaches to problem solving. Over the last decade, Dr. Sticklen has pursued engineering education research focused on early engineering with an emphasis on hybrid course design and problem-based learning; his current research is supported by NSF/DUE and NSF/CISE.

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Daina Briedis Michigan State University

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Dr. Diana Briedis is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University and Assistant Dean for Student Advancement and Program Assessment in the College of Engineering. Dr. Briedis has been involved in several areas of education research including student retention, curriculum redesign, and the use of technology in the classroom. She is a co-PI on two NSF grants in the areas of integration of computation in engineering curricula and in developing comprehensive strategies to retain early engineering students. She is active nationally and internationally in engineering accreditation and is a Fellow of ABET and of the AIChE.

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Claudia Elena Vergara Michigan State University

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Claudia Elena Vergara is a Research Scientist in The Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER). She received her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Purdue University.
Her scholarly interests include: improvement of STEM teaching and learning processes in higher education, and institutional change strategies to address the problems and solutions of educational reforms considering the situational context of the participants involved in the reforms.

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Mark Urban-Lurain Michigan State University

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Dr. Urban-Lurain is responsible for teaching, research and curriculum development, with emphasis on engineering education and, more broadly, STEM education.
His research interests are in theories of cognition, how these theories inform the design of instruction, how we might best design instructional technology within those frameworks, and how the research and development of instructional technologies can inform our theories of cognition. He is also interested in preparing future STEM faculty for teaching, incorporating instructional technology as part of instructional design, and STEM education improvement and reform.

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Renée S DeGraaf M.A. Lansing Community College

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Tutoring Services Coordinator, Student Services Division, Learning Assistance Department

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Louise Paquette Lansing Community College

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Ruth Heckman Lansing Community College

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Neeraj Buch Michigan State University

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Thomas F. Wolff P.E. Michigan State University

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Dr. Thomas F. Wolff is Associate Dean of Engineering for Undergraduate Studies at Michigan State University. In this capacity, he is responsible for all activities related to student services (academic administration, first year programs, advising, career planning, women and diversity programs, etc.) and curricular issues. He is principal investigator on several NSF grants related to retention of engineering students. As a faculty member in civil engineering, his teaching portfolio includes courses in geotechnical engineering, probabilistic methods, and a large introductory course in civil engineering. His research and consulting activities have focused on the safety and reliability of hydraulic structures, and he has participated as an expert in three different capacities regarding reviews of levee performance in Hurricane Katrina. He is a three-time recipient of his college’s Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence, a recipient of the Chi Epsilon Regional Teaching Award, and a recipient of the U.S. Army Commander’s Award medal for Public Service. In 2010, he was elected to the National Council of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, and presently serves as National Vice-President of that organization.

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Abstract

Engaging Early Engineering Students (EEES): A Fourth Year ReportEarly “leavers” from engineering programs typically fall into one of two overlapping categories:(a) those who leave because of academic difficulties and (b) those who leave because they findthe educational environment of early engineering to be hostile and/or not engaging. This paperdescribes an NSF STEP project, EEES, that is a suite of four articulated programs. EEES isdesigned to ease the transition of high school students into engineering undergraduate programs,and, by making the transition smoother, to increase the retention rate of early engineeringstudents. Analysis of internal statistics revealed key courses that are pivotal in promotingretention: early mathematics courses, first term physics, and a computational tools-for-problem-solving course; the students in those courses are the specific targets of EEES.The EEES project is a collaborative effort between the College of Engineering at and . EEES consists of four content subprograms: (a) aprogram to provide formative assessments in the key courses with follow-on “bootstrapping”tutorials, (b) a supplemental instruction program initially patterned after the Kansas City model,(c) a program to directly engage engineering faculty with early engineering students, and (d) aprogram to develop and exploit course material from one key course to another thereby enablinga “program view” by our students instead of the more typical “course silo view”. Our effort isnot a conglomeration of the four independent subprojects; rather EEES is a system of fourinterrelated, articulated programs.The project goal for EEES is to raise the matriculation-to-graduation rate in our College ofEngineering by ten percentage points. Earlier, we reported on reasoned methods to determineretention rate, a surprisingly complex problem. In addition to making good progress towards ourproject goal, we have set the problem of determining (a) the relative contribution of our each ofour projects to our retention goal and (b) the overall contribution of our project to retention in anenvironment that is constantly changing. In addition to our four content programs, our dataassembly and analysis goals are housed in an infrastructure program within EEES that is focusedspecifically on data management and analysis. The ultimate goals of credit assignment depend onmore complete data sets than we currently have. But intermediate data analysis is promising.In September, 2012, we completed the fourth year of our five year project. In this paper wepresent a summary of our results to date, including our data handling and analysis methodology.We report on both direct and indirect assessment metrics we have developed for assessment. Ourmethods have been mixed: both qualitative and quantitative. Our report is one year past “mid-term” for our project, and reports on the data and analyses supplied to NSF for our project’sSTEP third year review.

Sticklen, J., & Briedis, D., & Vergara, C. E., & Urban-Lurain, M., & DeGraaf, R. S., & Paquette, L., & Heckman, R., & Buch, N., & Wolff, T. F. (2013, June), Engaging Early Engineering Students (EEES): A Fourth Year Report from an NSF STEP Project Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19502

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