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Improving Retention: Engaging Pre Engineering Students Via Integrated Enrichment Activities

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.860.1 - 12.860.10

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Paper Authors


Mahmoud Ardebili Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY

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Mahmoud Ardebili, Ph.D., PE. is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Engineering Science Program at Borough of Manhattan Community College/City University of New York. He teaches Engineering Graphics, Thermodynamics, and Freshman Design classes. His research interests include computational fluid dynamics, alternatively fueled vehicles and engineering education.

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

Improving Retention: Engaging Pre-engineering Students via Integrated Enrichment Activities The Engineering Science program at Borough of Manhattan Community College is undertaking an NSF funded program to improve its retention and graduation rates. The program targets cohort of pre-engineering students, self-declared engineering majors but academically unprepared for university level calculus and physics courses traditionally taken at freshman year. The program consists of three components: enrichment workshops, design competition and peer mentoring.

The enrichment workshops are designed to improve visualization, chemistry and physics fundamentals, skills traditionally acquired in high schools. Competition component groups the cohorts in small teams who use robotics kits to design and built modules in order to meet specified requirements. The competition activities are planned to promote collaborative group learning skills. The mentoring component further sustains this effort by bringing sophomores / juniors as peer group leaders in weekly sessions focusing on learning in fundamental classes.

Majority of cohort do not meet placement requirements, start at remedial mathematics level. The long series of remediation needed to enroll in freshman level classes contributes greatly to large attrition rate. The integrated enrichment activates engages this group; provides counseling, stipend and a nurturing up-to-date environment. This program is part of a larger project to increase baccalaureate level graduation rate at collaborating sister institution.


The engineering science program at Borough of Manhattan Community College in partnership with school of engineering at the City College of New York and the pre- engineering program at Hostos Community College are undertaking a pilot program on a series of initiatives that identified their effectiveness in increasing the number of undergraduate students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, pursuing and receiving associate or baccalaureate degrees in engineering. These initiatives are funded by the National Science Foundation through their STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program). The project addresses five objectives to improve graduation rate; (1) curricular coordination, especially for first- and second-year courses; (2) use of new media resources to support the teaching/learning process; (3) incorporation of a peer mentoring model into instruction at introductory levels; (4) development of high interest, hands-on research experiences for freshmen and sophomores; and (5) careful attention to preparing students well for the transfer experience and for success in Engineering.

Ardebili, M. (2007, June), Improving Retention: Engaging Pre Engineering Students Via Integrated Enrichment Activities Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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