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First Year Engineering Experience Initiative

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Programs: Look Ahead

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.611.1 - 9.611.9



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Paper Authors

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Yaakov Varol

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William Sparkman

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Walt Johnson

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Nancy LaTourrette

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Jesse Adams

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Jeffrey LaCombe

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Gary Norris

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Ellen Jacobson

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Norma Velasquez-Bryant

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John Kleppe

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Pamela Cantrell

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Eric Wang

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Ted Batchman

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

Session 2171

First Year Engineering Experience Initiative1

E. Wang, N. Velasquez-Bryant, J. Adams, T. Batchman, P. Cantrell, E. Jacobson, W. Johnson, J. Kleppe, J. LaCombe, N. LaTourrette, G. Norris, W. Sparkman, and Y. Varol

University of Nevada, Reno

Abstract This project is one of nine projects supported by the Hewlett Foundation’s Engineering Schools of the West Initiative. At the University of Nevada, Reno the College of Engineering and the College of Education are working together on the 5-year project: The First Year Engineering Experience Initiative: A Bridge To and From Problem/Project/Team-Based Learning. The collaboration stems from a unique view of the engineering pipeline and aims to improve the quality, quantity, and diversity of our graduates through a flexible, hands-on curriculum.

This paper describes the program’s three main activities: the development of an integrated freshmen curriculum, a future scholars program, and a summer bridging program. Assessment has been integrated into all activities and is being performed by experts from the College of Education.

Currently, curriculum activity is focused on two freshmen courses. The first is a combined mechanical, electrical and civil engineering course where students work on interdisciplinary teams building digital scales. The second course is for mechanical engineering, material science engineering, and computer science students and focuses on structured programming through the use of robotics.

The future scholars program is the teaching analogy to a research post-doc. The future scholars work with faculty on the integrated freshmen courses while receiving training on learning and teaching styles.

The Hewlett Bridging into Engineering Program is aimed at students who are at high risk of dropping out based on historic data. The program is being followed up with periodic meetings between the participants and student mentors.

1 This project was supported by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Engineering Schools of the West Initiative (

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Varol, Y., & Sparkman, W., & Johnson, W., & LaTourrette, N., & Adams, J., & LaCombe, J., & Norris, G., & Jacobson, E., & Velasquez-Bryant, N., & Kleppe, J., & Cantrell, P., & Wang, E., & Batchman, T. (2004, June), First Year Engineering Experience Initiative Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13882

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