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Impact of a Hands-on First-Year Course on Student Knowledge of and Interest in Engineering Disciplines

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.693.1 - 24.693.14



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Paper Authors


Lynn K. Byers Quinnipiac University

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Lynn Byers is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Quinnipiac University and previously taught at the United States Military Academy. She graduated from West Point in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. She earned a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 1997 and 2006, respectively. She has taught courses in aeronautics, dynamics, vibrations, computer-aided design, thermal-fluid systems, and aerospace and mechanical engineering design. She is a licensed Professional Engineer and is a rated pilot in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

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Justin W. Kile Quinnipiac University

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Dr. Kile is the associate dean of engineering and an associate professor of industrial engineering at Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining Quinnipiac in 2012, he was an associate professor and program coordinator for the Industrial Engineering program at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. His research interests include material handling, facilities planning, and logistics. Additionally his education based research is in the areas of communication skills and lean curriculum development. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the Industrial and Operations Engineering department at the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Corey Kiassat Quinnipiac University

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Corey Kiassat is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, Connecticut. He holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering (University of Toronto), with a focus on the role of people on performance of systems. Corey has 11 years of industry experience in manufacturing engineering and operations management with General Motors. Prior to his industry experience, he completed an MBA (York University), majoring in Marketing and International Business.

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Impact of hands-on first year course on student retention, satisfaction, and knowledgeX University offers a 3 credit hour introductory engineering course that is required for all firstsemester engineering students and open to all students. Half of the student outcomes in thecourse are focused on the engineering profession: explain the basic practice of engineering,describing background histories, impact on society, skills employed, and professional/ethicalresponsibilities; summarize the knowledge bases, skills, problem types, and analysis techniquesof the four engineering disciplines offered at X University; and analyze information providedand learned to make an informed decision about choice of an engineering major. Theseoutcomes are focused on raising student understanding of engineering disciplines in order toenhance their ability to make an informed decision about choice of an engineering major.At the start of the course students are surveyed to collect data on the major in which they arecurrently registered, initial actual knowledge of engineering disciplines, initial perceivedknowledge of engineering disciplines, initial interest in a specific engineering major, and reasonsfor selecting engineering (or taking course for non-engineering majors.)This paper investigates four topics: 1. Is there a correlation between a student’s initial desire to pursue a specific engineering major and their actual and perceived knowledge of that engineering discipline? 2. For those students who are interested in and knowledgeable about a specific engineering discipline, does the introductory course strengthen that interest? 3. For those students who are unsure about what specific engineering discipline to choose, are the students more likely to be interested in a specific engineering discipline at the end of the course? 4. Does the introductory course increase students’ knowledge, actual and perceived, about the specific engineering disciplines?[Initial data has been collected, the next occurrence of data collection is early December 2013.Data analysis leading to results will be completed in December 2013.]The results presented are an initial step in a longitudinal study that will investigate therelationships between major at the time of application to the university, initial knowledge ofengineering disciplines, initial perceived knowledge of engineering disciplines, initial interest inan engineering major, retention within a specific engineering major, retention withinengineering, and overall satisfaction with major choice.The desired outcome of this initial data collection and the longitudinal study is to identifyopportunities and obstacles in the processes of recruiting students to engineering and thestudent’s ultimate choice of major. Such information will be used to develop and implement aneffective program of recruitment and advising for the engineering majors at X University.

Byers, L. K., & Kile, J. W., & Kiassat, C. (2014, June), Impact of a Hands-on First-Year Course on Student Knowledge of and Interest in Engineering Disciplines Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20585

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