June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.178.1 - 2.178.8
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. https://peer.asee.org/6548
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