Asee peer logo

Enhancing Engineering Student Success: A Pedagogy For Changing Behaviors

Download Paper |


1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.178.1 - 2.178.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Raymond B. Landis

Download Paper |

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

Session 2653

Enhancing Engineering Student Success: A Pedagogy for Changing Behaviors

Raymond B. Landis California State University, Los Angeles


Whether we need to bring about greater success on the part of engineering students is not the topic of this paper. The fact that we do is assumed to be self-evident. We only have to consider the anecdotal statements of engineering professors that “students aren’t what they used to be,” or measure our graduates against the outcomes established by the new ABET Engineering Criteria 2000,1 or look at the low transfer rates of students who start engineering study in community colleges, or look at the differentially low retention of minority students (African American, Hispanic, and Native American) to convince ourselves that there is lots of room for improvement. If that’s not enough, we can always take the TQM view that “no matter how good we are doing, we should always strive to be better.”

Unfortunately, when we do strive to do better, we often miss the mark. Most institutional strategies aimed at improving student success are oblique. Examples of approaches taken are: increasing moneys available for scholarships; conducting effective teaching workshops for faculty; improving the quality of academic advising; establishing tutorial programs; revising the curriculum to provide freshman students increased exposure to topics such as computing, engineering design, problem solving, and creativity.

Generally, little consideration is given as to whether these activities and interventions really address those factors that are impeding student success. Consequently, although worthwhile, the types of interventions listed above do not generally have a significant impact on student success. The postulate of this paper is that enhancing engineering student success can best be accomplished by taking a direct approach to changing student attitudes and behaviors.

In Chapter 1 of the author’s text Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career,2 the keys to success in engineering study are described as: Determination“Don’t give up.” Effort “Study hard.” Approach“Study smart.” Approaches for building student commitment to engineering were addressed in a previous paper by the author.3 Strong commitment is key to students’ determination to persist and to their willingness to devote appropriate time and effort to their studies.

Landis, R. B. (1997, June), Enhancing Engineering Student Success: A Pedagogy For Changing Behaviors Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6548

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: © 1997 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