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Freshman Engineering Student Responses To A Pre College Perception Survey

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

FPD10 -- Pre-Engineering and Bridge Programs

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.764.1 - 12.764.11



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Paper Authors


Blair Rowley Wright State University

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BLAIR A. ROWLEY is a Professor of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering and Director of the Freshman Engineering and Computer Science Program. He holds the Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, Columbia and is a PE. He has been in academia since 1970. Among his many activities he served as the Chair of the ASEE/BMD 1987-1988 and is a reviewer for NSF. His research focuses on rehabilitation engineering and teaching.

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Kumar Yelamarthi Wright State University

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KUMAR YELAMARTHI is currently a Ph.D. student, and holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Wright State University. He serves as the lead Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Freshman Engineering and Computer Science Program. He was honored as the most outstanding Graduate Student in 2004, most outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in 2005, and also has been nominated for excellence in teaching awards several times. He is currently an author on over fifteen publications. His research focus is low-power VLSI methodologies, and engineering education.

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Cory Miller Wright State University

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Corey E. Miller is an associate professor at Wright State University. He received his Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Akron. His research interests include personnel psychology, legal issues, and diversity management. He is the author of several papers, and has published in journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology and American Psychologist. He teaches graduate courses in industrial/organizational psychology, personnel selection, and psychometrics, and undergraduate courses in tests and measures, industrial/organizational psychology, and human sexuality. He has experience as a consultant in a human resources consulting firm, and consults on an independent basis on topics such as sexual harassment and diversity, personnel selection, questionnaire development and performance appraisal.

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Thomas L. Bazzoli Wright State University

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THOMAS L. BAZZOLI is Assistant Dean for Fiscal Affairs and Research. He holds the MS in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. During his Air Force career he directed diverse research programs in modeling and testing of system performance, compositional mapping of submicron materials and machine translation of text. He was instrumental in establishing the college’s freshman program.

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

Freshman Engineering Student Responses to a Pre-College Perception Survey


Engineering educators are constantly modifying course offerings and course structure to meet the necessities of our society. One of the ongoing challenges is how to modify the initial contact with students that will encourage them to continue seeking a career in engineering. This involves student recruitment and retention. Our Fundamentals of Engineering and Computer Science (FECS) course at Wright State University has been in place for the past six years and has seen an increase in student retention from 45% to 70%. Improving this retention rate by raising the admission standards is not possible as we have an open enrollment policy set by the state. Therefore, to better understand our students and how they perceive themselves as they enter college, we have been collecting data for the past three years as they take their FECS course using a perception survey at the beginning of the course.

Data collected from the perception survey is the focus of this paper. The database consists of responses from 539 students enrolled in FECS from 2003 to 2005. The course is offered each quarter and results are compared between quarters, between years, and between quarters of each year. Data collected and presented includes the student perceptions on math and science preparation, self appraisal, outside help and teaming. Conclusions are also presented from analysis of the survey data on how our initial interactions with the students could be improved.


Surveys in the literature have focused on how engineering students view their perceptions from pre-enrollment choices, to academic activities support, to why they dropped out. An in-depth analysis of attrition and retention reported on by Shuman, et. al. included five main areas, two at the freshmen level and three at the upper-departmental level.1 At the freshman level those who transferred out or resigned, and those that left while on academic probation were studied. At the upper level those that transferred out in good standing, not in good standing, or went inactive were studied. The two main reasons that freshmen and upper classmen left their programs were due to developing a dislike or loosing interest in engineering. The reasons for this appeared to be dissatisfaction with their “science and math courses” and a “perceived lack of relevance of much of their course work.”

Another study by Amenkhienan and Kogan suggested that individual effort and involvement, peer interaction, and faculty contact had a positive impact on their academic performance.2 This study involved 34 second year students in nine focus groups selected from 200 student volunteers. They were selected based upon gender, ethnicity, and GPA. Study habits, completing homework, willingness to seek outside help, study groups,

Rowley, B., & Yelamarthi, K., & Miller, C., & Bazzoli, T. L. (2007, June), Freshman Engineering Student Responses To A Pre College Perception Survey Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2511

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015