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Implementing A New Mechanical Engineering Curriculum To Improve Student Retention

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.556.1 - 6.556.12



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Amir Karimi

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

Session 1566

Implementing a New Mechanical Engineering Curriculum to Improve Student Retention

Amir Karimi The University of Texas at San Antonio


The mechanical engineering curriculum at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) was recently revised. The new curriculum is being implemented in the 2000-01 academic year. The main motivations for curriculum revision were enhancement of engineering education quality, increased student retention, and reduced total degree requirement semester hours.

This paper provides tracking data on student enrollment and retention. It will identify measures taken in the new curriculum to improve student success. The paper describes Texas Senate Bill 148 passed by the 75th Legislature in January of 1997, mandating a 42-semester credit hour core curriculum transferable among all Texas public institutions of higher education. The paper explains how the new law impacted UTSA engineering programs and the challenges it created in revising the curriculum to allow a BS degree within four years.

This paper describes the revised curriculum for the 2000-02 catalog that can be completed with a minimum of 130-semester credit hours. We believe that the streamlined curriculum has actually enhanced the quality of our programs.

I. Introduction

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), a comprehensive state university, was founded in 1969. It is located in the eighth largest city (with a population of 1,114,0001) and 30th largest metropolitan area in the country. The Division of Engineering was established in September 1982 offering BS degrees in Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering (CE, EE, and ME). The first graduating class was in May 1984. Graduate programs offering MS degrees in CE, EE, and ME began in the Fall of 1989; the first MS degree was awarded in Spring 1993. The Division of Engineering, which was originally a part of the College of Sciences and Engineering, became an independent college in 2000 as a result of the university-wide academic restructuring.

Student Demographics: The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing institutions of higher education in the state. In Fall 1982, the student enrollment was approximately 10,000 and in Fall 2000 that figure reached 18,830. The enrollment in Spring 2001 was 17, 979 an increase of 3.11% over previous year. Ethnic minorities have shown steady growth in undergraduate enrollment in the last ten years and UTSA is now designated as a minority institution. Hispanics are the dominant group within the under-represented minorities. The undergraduate students at UTSA are typically older than the traditional students in other institutions. The average age of undergraduate students at UTSA is slightly over 25.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Karimi, A. (2001, June), Implementing A New Mechanical Engineering Curriculum To Improve Student Retention Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9354

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