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From Defense to Degree: Accelerating Degree Opportunities for Military Veterans

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.620.1 - 23.620.7



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Paper Authors

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David L. Soldan Kansas State University


Don Gruenbacher Kansas State University

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Currently serving as department head and associate professor, Dr. Don Gruenbacher joined the Kansas State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1997. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002, and has served as the graduate program coordinator of electrical and computer engineering since 2004. During his career at Kansas State University, Dr. Gruenbacher has chaired and served on various committees at the department, college, and university level. He has been recognized as an outstanding faculty member by both Eta Kappa Nu and the Mortar Board. His research activities are focused in the areas of computer networks, communications, and digital design. Prior to joining Kansas State University as a faculty member, Dr. Gruenbacher was a member of the senior staff in the Space Department of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory from 1994 to 1997 and from 1989 to 1990. He received a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering in 1989, a master's degree in 1991, and a doctorate in 1994, all from Kansas State. Dr. Gruenbacher has also completed engineering internships with both Motorola Inc. and IBM.

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Noel N. Schulz Kansas State University

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Dr. Noel Schulz received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Electrical Engineering degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Va. in 1988 and 1990, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1995. Noel joined the Kansas State University faculty in 2009 in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She started as associate dean for engineering in August 2012. Before joining Kansas State University, Dr. Schulz spent eight years at Mississippi State University where she was the TVA endowed professor in Power Systems Engineering. She has a total of over nineteen years of teaching experience including other schools such as Michigan Technological University, University of North Dakota, and Virginia Tech.

Noel is active in teaching, research and service. She enjoys teaching electrical engineering and power engineering topics to students. In research and graduate studies, she has been very active having graduated 40 MS and 12 PhD students; published 160 papers and 2 book chapters; and brought in over $10 M in external research through individual and collaborative projects including an U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER award.

She has been active in the IEEE Power & Energy Society serving as Secretary from 2004-2007, Treasurer from 2008-2009, President-Elect 2010-11, and President for 2012-2013. Dr. Schulz is a member of Eta Kappa Nu (Electrical Engineering Honorary Society), Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers.

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Blythe A Vogt PE Kansas State University

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Blythe Vogt is a senior industry advisor and Ph.D. researcher on this project. She
received her B.S. in Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University in 2001 and completed her M.S. in Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University in 2010 related to Curriculum Development in Architectural Engineering and Construction. Mrs. Vogt is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering with an emphasis in Engineering Education/Outreach under the supervision of Dr. Noel Schulz. Mrs. Vogt is employed full time as the director of Business Development for Affiliated Engineers Inc. (AEI) in Madison, WI. AEI is a recognized industry leader in the field of systems engineering consulting.
Prior experience includes: project manager, project engineer, commissioning agent, and
professional conference speaker. She has collaborated in the past with the University of
Wisconsin–Construction Engineering and Management as an adjunct faculty, teaching one course each fall semester related to building systems and was an assistant professor of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science and Management at Kansas State University from 2008 to 2012.

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William Bowes Hageman Kansas State University

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From Defense to Degree: Accelerating Degree Opportunities for Military VeteransThis paper is a continuation of reported progress on program development to address curricularimprovements towards integrating post-9/11 veterans into the engineering workforce. Based onthe high demand and increased opportunities for veterans in the workforce, a program has beendeveloped to acclimate and accelerate veterans into an electrical and computer engineeringdegree. The projected shortage of trained technical personnel in renewable energy and energydistribution systems areas has been the targeted initial technical focus.This paper will focus on the impact and progress made by this program with developed tools andmaterials necessary to acclimate and accelerate military veterans onto a successful path towardsbachelor degrees in engineering. First, an initial and thorough evaluation of the veterans’training, experiences, and expertise are conducted as early as possible during the admissionprocess by a trained academic advisor or faculty. Academic credit for previous academic andmilitary courses can then be assessed and granted credit where appropriate. Required coursehours already identified for consideration of assigning experiential credit include the following:Introduction to Personal and Professional Development, social science/humanities elective andone technical elective.The tools developed for this program include on-line pre-assessments and linked subject-basedtutorials to accelerate the veteran’s entry or re-entry into the traditional math sequence beginningwith Calculus I or higher. The same concept of online pre-assessment and tutorials followed bya proctored final assessment is also being developed for entry level engineering courses. In thefield of electrical engineering the course to be used for evaluation is Circuit Theory I andtherefore it’s prerequisite Introduction to Electrical Engineering. These courses present basicconcepts in electrical theory, engineering applications and an introduction to the circuitslaboratory. As in mathematics, veterans would complete an on-line pre-test with linked subjectbased tutorials ahead of enrolling in the degree program. Then veteran would have the option ofcompleting a one-time proctored post-test for course credit (C or better). This approachleverages the veterans’ existing technical knowledge acquired through the nature of their serviceposts and accelerates their entry ahead to follow-on technical courses.Student success (C or better) in Calculus 1 (or higher) and follow-on entry level engineeringcourses will be the primary evaluation metric in both cases. Students and evaluation metrics willbe tracked as individuals enter the program and reported when a significant number of metricsare accumulated.

Soldan, D. L., & Gruenbacher, D., & Schulz, N. N., & Vogt, B. A., & Hageman, W. B. (2013, June), From Defense to Degree: Accelerating Degree Opportunities for Military Veterans Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19634

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