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Exploring Early College Credit Implications for Engineering

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Issues in Advising and Mentoring

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.578.1 - 23.578.20



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Paper Authors


Karen Zunkel Iowa State University

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Dr. Karen Zunkel is Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and Director the Program for Women in Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. In 2009-2011 she chaired an institutional task force on early college credit. She has previously served as a non-tenure track faculty member and Manager of Undergraduate Programs in the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. In additional she has industry experience in product and sales engineering. Dr. Zunkel earned a Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University, a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Iowa State University.

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Jason Pontius

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Jason Pontius, Ph.D. is the Coordinator of Continuous Academic Program Improvement within the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost at Iowa State University. Jason helped with the statistical analysis for early credit task force. Jason has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University, an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

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Thomas J Brumm Iowa State University

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Dr. Tom Brumm is associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU) and Professor-in-Charge of Online Learning for the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is also the Director of Assessment for the College of Engineering.

Brumm is a leader in learning communities, competency-based learning, and assessment at ISU, incorporating them into engineering and technology curricula at Iowa State. He leads the development and delivery of online learning activities for two colleges. His disciplinary research examines systems approaches for capturing value and creating sustainability from biorenewable processes such as biofuel production from grains, oilseeds and alternative crops.

Brumm is a member of the ASEE divisions of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Continuing Professional Development.

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Exploring Early Credit Implications for EngineeringInterest in time-to-graduation and four-year graduation rates for undergraduate students hasincreased nationally over the past decade. Rising costs of higher education have contributed tothis interest. In response, states and families have pushed to increase the number of collegecredits students can earn prior to graduation from high school (through programs such asAdvanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, courses taken through an agreement withcommunity colleges or four-year schools, etc.). Some may argue that this trend is not positiveand lessens the integrity both of the high school diploma and the college degree experience.However, baccalaureate institutions of higher education must adapt to this new reality if theywant to address the concerns of cost, time-to-graduation, and four-year graduation rates forstudents with early college credit.Recognizing this trend, Midwestern University investigated the magnitude of the trend, thesuccess of students entering with early college credit (as measured by retention, grade pointaverage, graduation rates, time to graduation, and success in subsequent courses), studentacademic pursuits, and policy/procedural implications at Midwestern University. The studymethodology included both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Statistical analyses of studentrecords included descriptive statistics, regression, and propensity score matching. Enrolledstudents participated in surveys and focus groups about their experiences at MidwesternUniversity and the impact early credit had on those experiences. Interviews were also conductedwith faculty members, advisors, and administrators from across the university. The universitycatalog was reviewed to identify relevant policy and procedural issues.The results showed that engineering students at Midwestern University, compared to non-engineering students, were less likely to shorten their time to graduation by having early collegecredit. Contributing factors included the heavily course-sequenced nature of the engineeringcurriculum, the inclusion of engineering courses into the early years of engineering degreeprograms as an effort to increase retention, and the limited number of elective courses allowed inmany engineering degree programs. As more students direct from high school enter with collegecredits, it is critical that engineering colleges reflect upon their policies, procedures, curriculum,and course offerings to meet the changing reality. This paper will share university andengineering specific early credit data, including data on student success; discuss the curricular,policy, and procedural issues of early college credit; and share strategies to address these issues.

Zunkel, K., & Pontius, J., & Brumm, T. J. (2013, June), Exploring Early College Credit Implications for Engineering Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19592

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