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Freshman Engineering Courses At Manhattan College Lessons Learned

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.510.1 - 6.510.8



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Philip Pritchard

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Bahman Litkouhi

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

Session 2553

Freshman Engineering Courses at Manhattan College - Lessons Learned

Bahman Litkouhi and Philip J. Pritchard Manhattan College


In 1996 the School of Engineering introduced two new three-credit interdisciplinary freshman engineering courses, ENGS115 and ENGS116. This paper presents the steps followed in developing these courses, explains the detailed curriculum, reviews the outcomes and feedback from the students, compares the improvement in the retention rate over the past four years, and discusses our experiences and lessons learned.

I. Introduction

In the mid - 1990’s, the School of Engineering at Manhattan College, as did many other engineering schools, recognized that it was necessary to create a smooth transition for freshman students entering an engineering program. The first year retention rate was approximately 65-70%. The traditional curriculum did not allow much early direct contact between engineering students and their engineering subjects, or with their faculty. A student could drop out of the program at the end of the first year without having had any engineering experience. Accordingly, it was concluded that the departments could not wait until a student had completed all pre-requisite math and science courses before the student was brought into contact with his or her department.

With these concerns and keeping in mind the ABET 2000 requirements, in 1996 a group of faculty representing the five engineering programs at that time, worked together to plan for new introductory engineering courses. The outcome of their efforts resulted in two three- credit freshman courses, ENGS115 and ENGS116. It is noteworthy to mention that 1996 was not the first time that the School of Engineering had attempted to have freshman introductory courses. Orientation courses were introduced six years earlier, but did not receive favorable ratings, and consequently, were dropped from the curriculum a few years later. The poor acceptance of these courses was mainly due to the large classes, the pass/fail grading method, the fact that it was zero credit, and the lack of hands-on-experience and sufficient engineering activities during the semester.

The lessons learned from the previous orientation courses were used when planning the new courses. The new courses were designed to not only make the transition from high school to college a more motivating and exciting experience for students, but also to provide them with the basic engineering skills that would be useful in their future courses. In particular, the new courses were designed to meet the following objectives:

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Pritchard, P., & Litkouhi, B. (2001, June), Freshman Engineering Courses At Manhattan College Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9291

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