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Facilitating Transfer of Students from Two-Year to Four-Year Engineering Programs

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Two Year-to-Four Year Transfer Topics Part II

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.700.1 - 22.700.17



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Paper Authors

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Kevin Lemoine Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


James K. Nelson University of Texas, Tyler

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Dr. James K. Nelson received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Dayton in 1974. He received the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in civil engineering from the University of Houston. During his graduate study, Dr. Nelson specialized in structural engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in four states, a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom, and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the SAFE Association.
Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in 1983, Dr. Nelson worked as a design engineer in industry and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston and Texas A&M University at Galveston. In industry he was primarily involved in design of floating and fixed structures for the offshore petroleum industry. After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Nelson joined the civil engineering faculty at Texas A&M University. He joined the civil engineering faculty at Clemson University in 1989 as Program Director and founder of the Clemson University Graduate Engineering Programs at The Citadel and became Chair of Civil Engineering in 1998.
In July 2002, Dr. Nelson joined the faculty at Western Michigan University as Chair of Civil and Construction Engineering. At Western Michigan he started the civil engineering undergraduate and graduate degree programs and also chaired the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Industrial Design. In summer 2005 he joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Tyler. At UT Tyler he was the founding chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and instituted the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. In 2006 he became the Dean of Engineering and Computer Science.
Dr. Nelson's primary technical research interest is the behavior of structural systems. For almost 25 years he has been actively involved in evaluating the behavior of free-fall lifeboats and the development of analytical tools to predict that behavior. His research has formed the basis for many of the regulations of the International Maritime Organization for free-fall lifeboat performance. Since 1998, Dr. Nelson has served as a technical advisor to the United States Delegation to the International Maritime Organization, which is a United Nations Treaty Organization. In that capacity, he is a primary author of the international recommendation for testing free-fall lifeboats and many of the international regulations regarding the launch of free-fall lifeboats.
He has authored many technical papers that have been presented in national and international forums and co-authored three textbooks. Dr. Nelson chaired a national committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers for curriculum redesign supporting the civil engineering body of knowledge. He is actively engaged in developing strategies for enhancing the STEM education pipeline in Texas and nationally, and has testified before the Texas Senate in that regard. He served on a committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop a statewide articulation compact for mechanical engineering. He also served on the Texas State Board of Education committee preparing the standards for career and technical education. He is currently serving on the Engineering Education Task Force of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

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Lynn L. Peterson University of Texas, Arlington

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Dr. Peterson is Sr. Associate Dean of Engineering for Academic Affairs at U. Texas Arlington College of Engineering, and is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. Her Ph.D. is in medical computer science from U. Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Research interests are in artificial intelligence, engineering education and medical computer science. She is a member of the UT, Arlington Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

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James Sells San Jacinto College, Central Campus

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Professor James Sells teaches mathematics at San Jacinto College (SJC) in Pasadena, Texas (a suburb or Houston). He has a B.S. degree in Mathematics, an M.S. in Mathematics, and an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering, all from the University of Houston. Professor Sells has worked at the SJC's Central Campus since 1988, full time since 1990 and currently serves as chairman of the Mathematics Department. He has been active on several Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board committees, including the Engineering Field of Study Committee, the Voluntary Mechanical Engineering Transfer Compact Committee and the Tuning Texas Committee.

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Mary Eileen Smith Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

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Mary E. Smith has been employed with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board since 1987 and now serves as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Academic Planning and Policy. She is responsible for the administration and management of matters related to the Board’s higher education academic planning and policy functions, and she provides leadership on key projects, reports, and studies that cut across divisions of the agency. She has taught at The University of Texas at Austin, and she currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Communication at St. Edward’s University in Austin.

Smith serves as the project coordinator for the $1.8 million productivity grant awarded to Texas from Lumina Foundation for Education to plan methods of making the opportunity of going to college more affordable for students and the state. Smith has organized numerous meetings and conferences on behalf of the Coordinating Board, and she has made a number of presentations at various academic and professional conventions and conferences. Smith served for five years as a program director in the former Division of Universities and Health-Related Institutions where her primary responsibilities included the review of new degree program proposals and the administration of the Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program. Smith spent her first 12 years of employment with the Coordinating Board in the Department of Personnel Services, where from 1996 to 1999 she served as the department’s assistant director. Prior to her employment with the Coordinating Board, Smith spent 13 years in the health care field.

Smith holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies, a Certificate in Dispute Resolution, a Master of Arts degree in Speech Communication, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, all from The University of Texas, Austin.

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Facilitating Transfer of Students from 2-Year to 4-Year Engineering ProgramsAlthough enrollments in engineering programs have increased slightly in recent years, therecontinues to be concern about preparing the number of engineers necessary to meet the workforce needs of the Unites States to maintain technological competitiveness. Community collegesrepresent a source of students who could potentially enroll in baccalaureate engineeringprograms after completing their studies at the community college if a coherent curriculum wereavailable, and there existed a seamless migration process that would minimize the time to abachelor’s degree. Presented in this paper is the basis and methodology used to develop avoluntary articulation compact for mechanical engineering programs that was developed inTexas and implemented statewide. Currently, the chancellors or presidents of 13 universities and23 community and technical colleges or systems have agreed to participate in the VoluntaryMechanical Engineering Transfer Compact, which represents 77% of the Texas publicuniversities offering mechanical engineering and 64% of the of Texas public community ortechnical colleges offering lower-division engineering courses. By signing this compact, the needfor potentially up to 322 institution-to-institution transfer agreements among these signatoryinstitutions was eliminated.

Lemoine, K., & Nelson, J. K., & Peterson, L. L., & Sells, J., & Smith, M. E. (2011, June), Facilitating Transfer of Students from Two-Year to Four-Year Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17981

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