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Gateway To Technology

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Recruitment and Retention

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.592.1 - 8.592.7

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Paper Authors

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Terrence Freeman

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Ashok Agrawal

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

Session 3448 Gateway to Technology

Ashok K. Agrawal, Terrence L. Freeman St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley

Abstract One of the critical challenges in recruiting and retaining students in engineering and engineering technology is overcoming the hurdle of time spent in developmental courses. Many of the students who express interest in technological careers find that they must address deficiencies in reading, English, or mathematics before beginning a technological program. During this process many students are diverted from their original academic goal by the difficulties encountered in developmental courses that are designed for technical students. Students may also lose interest by not experiencing hands-on engineering technology. St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley is addressing this problem through its Gateway To Technology Program (GTTP). The GTTP is one of the three components of the Gateway to Manufacturing Excellence project funded by the National Science Foundation through the Advanced Technological Education program The GTTP is a one-semester integrated curriculum that prepares a cohort of students for immediate entry into one of several engineering technology programs offered at the college. This course would typically combine College Orientation, Engineering Technology Orientation, Developmental Reading, Developmental English, Intermediate Algebra, and Technology Applications providing the student with 14 credit hours of academic work. The GTTP is team taught by faculty from Engineering/Technology, mathematics, reading, and English departments. The integrated design of the coursework provides reinforcement across disciplines for the student who begins working immediately on real world problems while developing academic success skills. Since students enroll as a cohort, they benefit from convenient scheduling and consistent class enrollment. Resources from academic advising and counseling are also included to minimize attrition. The challenge in creating this program is that the structure is outside of the typical structure for courses, enrollment and faculty load calculations. This paper discusses the rationale, benefits, and process for developing this new program.

Introduction Student success has received considerable attention during this time1. Administrators and researchers in colleges and universities have increasingly focused their attention on retention and attrition rates in higher education2,3,4,5. The difficulty of meeting the engineering needs of the U.S. economy is exacerbated by a disturbing trend. Over the past twenty years there has been an increase in attrition of engineering students. In 1975, the attrition rate for engineering freshmen was 12% and by 1990 it had grown to 24%6. Less than half of the students who start college as engineering majors actually graduate with an engineering degree. The attrition for minority students is approximately 70%7. This decline in engineering interest and persistence while the demand for engineers continues to rise is a major concern for industry and society. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) provides statistics that demonstrate why the community college may be an important participant in meeting the

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Freeman, T., & Agrawal, A. (2003, June), Gateway To Technology Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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: © 2003 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