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Engineering Major Selection: An Examination of Initial Choice and Switching Throughout the First Year

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5A: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/p.26654

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26654

Download Count

137

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Paper Authors

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Andrew Theiss The Ohio State University

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Andrew Theiss is a Ph.D. student in the biomedical engineering graduate program at The Ohio State University. Andrew received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2009. He currently works as a graduate research associate in the Wexner Medical Center and is in his third year as a graduate teaching associate in the Engineering Education Innovation Center (EEIC). His engineering research interests are focused on the development of biosensing systems utilizing a field-effect transistor platform, and his education research interests include first-year experience and TA development.

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John E Robertson The Ohio State University

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John Robertson is a Junior Electrical Engineering major from The Ohio State University. He began doing undergraduate research in Engineering Education his Freshman year and has been working under the guidance of Dr. Rachel Kajfez. In this time he has co-authored one paper investigating the motivations of Undergraduate Teaching Assistants.

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Rachel Louis Kajfez The Ohio State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9745-1921

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching. Currently, she teaches within the first-year engineering program at Ohio State while maintaining an active engineering education research program.

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Krista M. Kecskemety The Ohio State University

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Krista Kecskemety is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Krista received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2006 and received her M.S. from Ohio State in 2007. In 2012, Krista completed her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State. Her engineering education research interests include investigating first-year engineering student experiences, faculty experiences, and the connection between the two.

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Kerry Meyers Youngstown State University

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Dr. Kerry Meyers holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Education (B.S. & M.S. Mechanical Engineering) and is specifically focused on programs that influence student’s experience, affect retention rates, and the factors that determine the overall long term success of students entering an engineering program. She is the Director of the STEM College’s First-Year Engineering Program and formerly the director of First-Year Engineering at the University of Notre Dame). She is committed to the betterment of the undergraduate curriculum and is still actively involved in the classroom, teaching over half of the First-Year Engineering Students each semester.

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Abstract

This research study investigates the decisions of first-year engineering students as they select, and on occasion, switch their intended engineering major. This work provides useful insight into their decision making to better inform our practices for recruitment and retention of engineering students. In order to better understand the choices that first-year engineering students make concerning their intended major, this paper aims to examine how these students shift their intended engineering discipline throughout an academic year. This paper will discuss results from an examination of initial major choice and possible major switch during the first year of an engineering program. Three surveys were administered (at the beginning, middle, and end of academic year) which asked students about their perceptions of engineering, what major they were currently enrolled in, and their confidence in this major discipline selection. Results from these surveys showed several trends, including patterns related to students who switch majors throughout their first year. Examination of these trends may aid in knowledge of student interests, motivations, and ultimately decision-making in engineering major selection. Retention of first-year engineering students is of critical importance to the health of an engineering program, and a better understanding of students’ disciplinary choices during their first year of study may allow educators and advisor to better address issues of attrition.

Theiss, A., & Robertson, J. E., & Kajfez, R. L., & Kecskemety, K. M., & Meyers, K. (2016, June), Engineering Major Selection: An Examination of Initial Choice and Switching Throughout the First Year Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26654

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: © 2016 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