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Engaging Early Engineering Students (Eees): Background And Goals Of An Nsf Step Project To Increase Retention Of Early Engineering Students

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Retention Tools and Programs

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

14.536.1 - 14.536.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5607

Download Count

32

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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 Applied Engineering Sciences major, College of Engineering, Michigan State University. Dr. Sticklen also serves as the College Coordinator for engineering education research, and is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department, MSU. Dr. Sticklen has lead a laboratory in knowledge-based systems focused on task specific approaches to problem solving. More recently, Dr. Sticklen has pursued engineering education research focused on early engineering; his current research is supported by NSF/DUE and NSF/CISE.

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Thomas Wolff Michigan State University

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Thomas F. Wolff is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering for Undergraduate Studies at Michigan State University. From 1970 to 1985, he was a geotechnical engineer with the St. Louis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since 1985, on the faculty of MSU, he has taught undergradaute and graduate courses in geotechnical engineering and reliability analysis. His research and consulting has focused on the design and evaluation of dams, levees and hydraulic structures, and he has been involved in several studies related to the failure of New Orleans levees in hurricane Katrina. As Associate Dean, he oversees curriculum, advising, career planning, study abroad, early engineering and other related initiatives.

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Wolfgang Bauer Michigan State University

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Wolfgang Bauer is University Distinguished Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University, as well as Founding Director of the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Discovery. He has pioneered internet-based distance learning classes for college and advanced placement high school audiences and has been a co-PI on the MSU Lon-Capa project, a course management and automated individualized homework system. He is MSU’s representative for the Science & Mathematics Teacher Imperative and team leader of The Leadership Collaborative. He is a member of the Steering Committee for MSU’s PROM/SE (Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education) NSF grant.

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Daina Briedis Michigan State University

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Daina Briedis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University. 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.

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Neeraj Buch Michigan State University

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Nathaniel Ehrlich Michigan State University

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John Courtney Michigan State University

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John Courtney is a Senior Academic Specialist and Assistant to the Chair of the Deprtment of Mathematics, Michigan State University. Among other duties, Dr. Courtney manages data for the Dept. of Mathematics.

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Ruth Heckman Lansing Community College

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Ruth Heckman is the Supplemental Instruction Supervisor at Lansing Community College. She received her Bachelors of Science in medical technology and biology with a minor in chemistry from Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI. She has participated in the Supplemental Instruction Supervisor Workshop at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium conferences and the Michigan Tutorial Association conferences. She has attained Master Tutor Certification through the College Reading and Learning Association.

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Denise Fleming Michigan State University

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Denise Fleming is currently an Academic Specialist in the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. She co-advises computer science undergraduate students and is the Support Coordinator for the EEES research project. Denise is an advocate for women in engineering and is currently the co-coordinator for the 2009 Michigan Celebration of Women in Computing. Denise earned a Master's degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University in 2005.

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Louise Paquette Lansing Community College

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Louise Paquette is a professor of mathematics and computer science at Lansing Community College and teaches courses from pre-calculus through differential equations, and a course in numerical techniques and MATLAB. In addition, she is the coordinator of the 2+2+2 Engineering Program, a co-operative venture between the Lansing Public Schools, Lansing Community College, and Michigan State University. Her interests lie in the integration of technology (graphing calculator and mathematical software) into the classroom to assist the students in understanding mathematical concepts and as a tool in problem solving. She is currently a co-PI on two NSF grants related to engineering.

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Renee Mickelson Lansing Community College

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Renée Mickelson, M.A. is Lansing Community College’s Tutoring Services Coordinator. She oversees tutoring and Supplemental Instruction, serving the entire college. In addition, Ms. Mickelson serves on the L.C.C. college-wide Retention Team, a Noel-Levitz initiative that champions initiatives and activities to foster student success.

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Mark Urban-Lurain

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Mark Urban-Lurain is the Director of Instructional Technology Research & Development in the Division of Science and Mathematics Education at Michigan State University. His research interests are in theories of cognition, their impact on instructional design and applying these to the use of instructional technology. He is also interested in the role of technology in educational improvement and reform.

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Clifford Weil Michigan State University

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

Engaging Early Engineering Students (EEES): Background and Goals of an NSF STEP Project to Increase Retention

Abstract

Early “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 find the educational environment of early engineering to be hostile and/or not engaging. This paper describes a new NSF STEP project, EEES, that is a suite of four articulated programs that is designed 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 engineering students. Analysis of internal statistics has revealed key courses that are pivotal in promoting retention: early mathematics courses, first term physics, and a computational tools-for-problem- solving course.

The EEES project is a collaborative effort between the College of Engineering at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. EEES consists of four content subprograms: (a) a program to provide formative assessments in the key courses with follow-on “bootstrapping” tutorials, (b) a supplemental instruction program which we call the PAL (peer-assisted learning) subproject, (c) a program to directly engage engineering faculty with early engineering students, and (d) a program to develop and exploit course material from one key course in another. Our effort is not a conglomeration of the four independent subprojects; rather EEES is a system of four interrelated, articulated programs that will be more effective than the sum of its parts.

We are approximately six months into a five year project; we do not present results in this paper. Rather, here we describe the motivation for our project, our explicit goals, the broad project architecture for our entire effort, and end with our current status. This report will set the stage for three companion papers, and for a series of future reports. The three companion papers describe our subproject applying “supplemental instruction,” a second subproject connecting our faculty more effectively to our early engineering students, and a third paper describing the methodology for research analysis that we will employ.

1. Motivation: Importance of increasing STEM numbers

To sustain US leadership in science and technology we must increase the number of undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). An estimate from The Information Technology Association of America indicates that by 2015, a doubling in the number of STEM degrees will be required to keep pace with expected job openings.1 Yet the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation (NSB/NSF) recently reported trends in the growth of STEM degrees that does not remotely approach the numbers required. Moreover, NSB also reported that the United States production of STEM

Sticklen, J., & Wolff, T., & Bauer, W., & Briedis, D., & Buch, N., & Ehrlich, N., & Courtney, J., & Heckman, R., & Fleming, D., & Paquette, L., & Mickelson, R., & Urban-Lurain, M., & Weil, C. (2009, June), Engaging Early Engineering Students (Eees): Background And Goals Of An Nsf Step Project To Increase Retention Of Early Engineering Students Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5607

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: © 2009 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