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First-Year Engineering Students' Perceptions of their Abilities to Succeed

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Paying More Attention to Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Tanya Dugat Wickliff Texas A&M University

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Delivering significant results in pivotal roles such as Sr. Consultant to high-profile clients, Sr. Project Manager directing teams, and Executive Leader of initiatives and programs that boost organizational effectiveness and optimize operations have been hallmarks of Dr. Wickliff’s career spanning more than 24 years with leaders in the oil & gas and semiconductor industries.

As an expert in the areas of Executive Leadership and Team Development, Strategy Design & Execution, Supply Chain Optimization, Change Management, System Integration and LEAN Process Improvement (technical and business), Dr. Wickliff is passionate about Organizational Wellness and the Holistic Wellness of individuals. She is also a professional Facilitator and Motivational Speaker.

Dr. Wickliff earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Texas A&M University where she combined Industrial & Systems Engineering with Organizational Development to conduct research in the area of talent management and organizational effectiveness. She also completed an executive MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston. She is founder of a nationally recognized pre-college initiative STEM program, FreshStart, which has served more than 2500 students since its inception.

Dr. Wickliff has been blessed since 2013 to work daily in the area of her passion – developing young professionals – in her exciting role at Texas A&M University. She is a Professor of Engineering Practice and Mentor to a group of STEM POSSE Scholars. At Texas A&M University, she has taught Capstone Senior Design, Foundations of Engineering courses, Statics & Dynamics, Ethics and Engineergin, and Engineering Leadership Development courses. She is also the founding director of the Zachry Leadership Program. She has also taught Project Management and Risk Management courses for the University of Phoenix.

Dr. Wickliff has been honored with University of Houston’s Distinguished Young Engineering Alumni Award, the Black Engineer of the Year Career Achievement Award for New Emerging Leaders and featured in several publications. She has presented keynote addresses, facilitated workshops and given motivational presentations at numerous civic and corporate forums domestically and internationally. She is a contributing author to Tavis Smiley’s book, “Keeping the Faith”, with her inspiring life story. She believes that her life’s calling and thus career quest is to be a catalyst of significant, positive change and growth for individuals and entities. However, through it all, Dr. Wickliff gives top priority to her relationship with God, her husband Oscar Smith and her three sons – Jamar Dugat, Raymond Wickliff and Dr. Cortlan Wickliff, Esq.

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Noemi V. Mendoza Diaz Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Mendoza Diaz is an Assistant Professor of Instruction at the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She obtained her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Educational Administration and Human Resource Development and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning-INSPIRE at the School of Engineering Education-Purdue University. She was a recipient of the Apprentice Faculty Grant from the Educational Research Methods ASEE Division in 2009. She also has been an Electrical Engineering Professor. Dr. Mendoza is interested in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Engineering Students, Latino Studies in Engineering, Computer Aided/Instructional Technology in Engineering, and Entrepreneurship/Service Learning.

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Jacques C. Richard Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Richard got his Ph. D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1989 & a B. S. at Boston University, 1984. He was at NASA Glenn, 1989-1995, taught at Northwestern for Fall 1995, worked at Argonne National Lab, 1996-1997, Chicago State, 1997-2002. Dr. Richard is a Sr. Lecturer & Research Associate in Aerospace Engineering @ Texas A&M since 1/03. His research is focused on computational plasma modeling using spectral and lattice Boltzmann methods for studying plasma turbulence and plasma jets. His research has also included fluid physics and electric propulsion using Lattice-Boltzmann methods, spectral element methods, Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory (WENO), etc.
Past research includes modeling single and multi-species plasma flows through ion thruster optics and the discharge cathode assembly; computer simulations of blood flow interacting with blood vessels; modeling ocean-air interaction; reacting flow systems; modeling jet engine turbomachinery going unstable at NASA for 6 years (received NASA Performance Cash awards). Dr. Richard is involved in many outreach activities: e.g., tutoring, mentoring, directing related grants (for example, a grant for an NSF REU site). Dr, Richard is active in professional societies (American Physical Society (APS), American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), etc.), ASEE, ASME. Dr. Richard has authored or co-authored about 25 technical articles (19 of which are refereed publications). Dr. Richard teaches courses ranging from first-year introductory engineering design, fluid mechanics, to space plasma propulsion.

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So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is an assistant research scientist at Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) within the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas A&M University. She received her Ph.D. and Educational Psychology with the specialties in Gifted Education and Research Methods & Measurement, respectively from Purdue University. Her work centers on P-16 engineering education research, as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. She has authored/co-authored more than 30 journal articles and conference proceedings and served as a reviewer of journals in engineering education, STEM education, and educational psychology, as well as an external evaluator and an advisory board member on several NSF-funded projects.

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The foundational engineering course outcomes identified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) are common across colleges and universities. A group of professors at a university located in the southwestern region of the United States are conducting engineering enculturation research of first year engineering students to the engineering profession. Engineering as a profession has its own norms, values and practices that are unique to its culture. Students begin to learn and assimilate to this engineering culture the moment that they begin their academic journey. The literature has indicated that there are several success factors for students during their first year of college in an engineering curriculum. How well a student assimilates to a culture is a key success factor. In research, a person’s self-efficacy is said to be an important factor that effects both their willingness to persist and successfully achieve their goals. This funded research can help to inform both literature and practice by shedding empirical insight into factors that enable the successful matriculation of students through their First Year Engineering program. In this work-in-progress, at least 400 students will be surveyed. These students are from multiple sections of a Foundational Engineering course. During this two year research, engineering students, primarily freshman, will self-report on their perceptions of their abilities to perform on the foundational engineering course outcomes as were established by ABET. In this quantitative assessment, the professors will analyze the Likert-scale data collected from the first year engineering students. Since research has shown that a person’s belief in their abilities is critical in translating their confidence into successful actions, likewise, the engineering student’s belief in his or her ability to perform foundational math, science, and analytical problem solving skills, as well as be a productive member of a high achieving team will increase the probability that the student will perform well academically, persist through engineering curricula successfully and become a practicing engineer. This paper contains the initial results from this work-in-progress to assess the student’s self-efficacy of ABET foundational engineering outcomes.

Wickliff, T. D., & Mendoza Diaz, N. V., & Richard, J. C., & Yoon, S. Y. (2017, June), First-Year Engineering Students' Perceptions of their Abilities to Succeed Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28365

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