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First-year Engineering Program Evaluation: Understanding Senior Students' Perceptions About Their First-year Experience

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Learning Experiences

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34675

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34675

Download Count

16

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Paper Authors

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Homero Murzi Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3849-2947

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Homero Murzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering (BS, MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and in Engineering Education (PhD). Homero has 15 years of international experience working in industry and academia. His research focuses on contemporary and inclusive pedagogical practices, industry-driven competency development in engineering, and understanding the barriers that Latinx and Native Americans have in engineering. Homero has been recognized as a Diggs scholar, a Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence fellow, a Diversity scholar, a Fulbright scholar and was inducted in the Bouchet Honor Society.

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Jazmin Jurkiewicz Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Jazmin Jurkiewicz is a first-year PhD student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.S.) and Engineering - Innovation, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship (M.E.). Her research interests include counseling informed education, inclusive practices, and teaching teams in STEM education.

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Kenneth Reid Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Kenneth Reid is an Associate Professor in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is active in engineering within K-12, serving on the TSA Board of Directors. He and his coauthors were awarded the William Elgin Wickenden award for 2014, recognizing the best paper in the Journal of Engineering Education. He was awarded an IEEE-USA Professional Achievement Award in 2013 for designing the nation's first BS degree in Engineering Education. He was named NETI Faculty Fellow for 2013-2014, and the Herbert F. Alter Chair of Engineering (Ohio Northern University) in 2010. His research interests include success in first-year engineering, engineering in K-12, introducing entrepreneurship into engineering, and international service and engineering. He has written texts in design, general engineering and digital electronics, including the text used by Project Lead the Way.

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Rachel Rosenbaum Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

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Rachel Rosenbaum is a junior in Industrial and Systems Engineering with passions in project management and engineering education. She was in the Galipatia LLC freshman year, a CEED Peer Mentor sophomore year, and has recently started research with the ECLIPS team.

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Abstract

Motivation: This Research paper will describe findings from an evaluation of a first-year general engineering program from the perspective of a group of stakeholders. Specifically, senior engineering students, considered "alumni" of the general first-year program, provided their perceptions on how useful the foundation of engineering courses taken in their first-year have been to their advancement in their engineering degree over time. Background: The Department of [Blinded for review] is home of a general first-year engineering program. This program is mandatory for every engineering student before they declare a major within an engineering discipline. One of the key components of the program are the introductory foundations of engineering courses. Data have been collected over the years to evaluate aspects of the first-year program. For example, first-year engineering students take a multi-dimensional survey at the beginning and end of the first semester and faculty (somewhat informally) provide perceptions of successes and suggested changes. However, data have not been collected from the different external stakeholders that are affected by the outcomes of the program (i.e. engineering departments, and senior engineering students). We decided to analyze senior engineering students perceptions of their experience in the first-year program and how effective they believe the program helped them in their academic programs. Methods: Using theory from program evaluation (Patton, 2008) and the academic plan model (Lattuca & Stark, 2009) as a guide, we conducted a focus group with 9 senior engineering students from Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Industrial and Systems, Mechanical, and Mining engineering and Engineering Science and Mechanics. The study had IRB approval and students signed a consent form to participate in the research. Students' responses were coded using thematic analysis and themes that emerged from the analysis were discussed in detail. Results: Students consider that the first-year program does a good job preparing them to work in teams, to solve problems, to understand design, to think logically, and to communicate (even when this was considered not to be important while in their first year of study). Students believe that first-year programs should emphasize more writing and presenting. They said that there shouldn't be as much of an emphasis on programming; they thought that including tools they don't find in other courses would be more useful (e.g. Excel). Students felt that more exposure to different engineering disciplines was crucial at that stage, and having small projects around different disciplines throughout the year would be ideal. Finally, we provide specific recommendations for administrators, practitioners, and researchers based on our findings. Keywords: First-year program evaluation, students' perceptions of first-year program, academic plan model

Murzi, H., & Jurkiewicz, J., & Reid, K., & Rosenbaum, R. (2020, June), First-year Engineering Program Evaluation: Understanding Senior Students' Perceptions About Their First-year Experience Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34675

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