June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.573.1 - 11.573.13
Engineering School, Life Balance, and the Student Experience
Students who pursue engineering undergraduate degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-intensive (STEM) institutions experience imbalance unlike most other undergraduates in co-educational institutions. The curricular demands on those enrolled are particularly intense and focused, leaving little opportunity for pursuits aside from studies.  As engineering education seeks to broaden its enrollment, it becomes important to better understand the student experience. This paper explores the question: What is the role of life balance in satisfaction and persistence of engineering students?
Our data indicate that engineering students have a desire for more balance than their academic environment will allow. If engineering education wants not only to recruit but to retain a larger population, it must find ways to expand its offerings and climate conditions to meet the needs of those who could be good engineering students and practicing engineers if provided the right environment and opportunities to maintain balanced lives in engineering college.
Students who pursue engineering undergraduate degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-intensive (STEM) institutions experience imbalance unlike most other undergraduates in co-educational institutions. The curricular demands on those enrolled are particularly intense and focused.  Students tend to be highly academically oriented and need to be: if a student plans to graduate in four years, there is little opportunity for varying from the prescribed path. The high credit loads per term often range from sixteen to twenty-two hours, and course content is both technical and challenging. This paper explores the question: What is the role of life balance in satisfaction and persistence of engineering students?
The Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE) seeks to understand undergraduate engineering students’ experiences as they navigate curricula, institutions, and pre- professional expectations. The Academic Pathways Study (APS) component of CAEE focuses on the research goals of understanding and enhancing the engineering student’s learning experience.  APS explores four areas: Skills, Identity, Education, and Workplace; this paper focuses on Education. The research questions guiding our inquiry are
How do pre-engineering and engineering students navigate their educations? What elements of students’ engineering educations contribute to changes observed in their skills and identity? What do students find difficult and how do they deal with the difficulties they face?
APS’ Mixed-Methods approach includes surveys, structured and unstructured interviews, performance tasks, and ethnographic observations, as well as examination of academic records
Loshbaugh, H., & Hoeglund, T., & Streveler, R., & Breaux, K. (2006, June), Engineering School, Life Balance, And The Student Experience Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/568
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