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Impact of a Common Engineering First-year Experience on Enrollment and Recruiting in Engineering Technology

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

New Directions for Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Jay R. Porter Texas A&M University

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Jay R. Porter joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 1998 and is currently the Associate Dean for Engineering at Texas A&M University - Galveston. He received the BS degree in electrical engineering (1987), the MS degree in physics (1989), and the Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1993) from Texas A&M University. His areas of interest in research and education include product development, analog/RF electronics, instrumentation, and entrepreneurship.

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Michael D. Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Michael D. Johnson is a professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on engineering education; design tools; specifically, the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; and computer-aided design methodology.

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Andrea M. Ogilvie P.E. Texas A&M University

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Andrea M. Ogilvie, Ph.D., P.E. serves as Assistant Dean for Student Success and Assistant Professor of Instruction in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She is an engineering education researcher and practitioner who draws on decades of experience in engineering and higher education. Since 2014, Dr. Ogilvie’s research has focused on engineering transfer students and their experiences at both sending and receiving institutions. More broadly, her research interests center on higher education policy issues, workforce development, and broadening participation in STEM. Dr. Ogilvie holds multiple degrees in engineering and public affairs from UT Austin (BS Civil Engineering, Master of Public Affairs) and Virginia Tech (MS Industrial and Systems Engineering, PhD Engineering Education).

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Christopher Cantrell Texas A&M University

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The engineering technology programs at a large public southwestern university are located the College of Engineering alongside multiple traditional engineering programs as well as computer science. Prior to the Fall of 2014, engineering technology admitted new students through one of three mechanisms; as true freshmen entering college for the first time, as transfer students from other institutions of higher education, and as “change of curriculum” students from other departments either in the College of Engineering or the University. The vast majority of new students came to the department as “change of curriculum” students, often with a history of academic issues.

In Fall of 2014, the College went through a major restructuring and created a new general engineering program. This new program was designed to support student success through a common first year curriculum and experience. The common curriculum included the first two engineering calculus courses, engineering chemistry, and the first engineering physics courses as well as introductory engineering courses that introduced students to programming, engineering design and an introduction to the different majors (engineering and engineering technology) available in the College As a result, all new first-time-in-college students are now admitted to general engineering including those students interested in engineering technology. It is only after students complete this first year experience that they can apply to one of the many degree programs available in the College.

At the time of inception, it was not clear what impact this common first year experience would have on engineering technology and, more specifically, on enrollment, student quality and retention. Now, with six years of historic data as well as limited data available prior to 2014, the effects this restructuring has had on engineering technology can be analyzed. This paper presents this analysis and discusses impacts on recruiting, retention, enrollment and student quality. Conclusions are drawn as to the value to engineering technology departments of a common first year experience that cohorts new engineering and engineering technology students together for their first year.

Porter, J. R., & Johnson, M. D., & Ogilvie, A. M., & Cantrell, C. (2021, July), Impact of a Common Engineering First-year Experience on Enrollment and Recruiting in Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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