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Increasing the Relevance of Shared Course Content through a Student and Academic Affairs Collaboration

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 4B: Assessing Student Motivation and Student Success

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Matthew J Jensen Florida Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Matthew J. Jensen received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2006. Matthew received his doctorate from Clemson University in 2011 in Mechanical Engineering, focused primarily on automotive control systems and dynamics. During his graduate studies, Matthew was awarded the Department of Mechanical Engineering Endowed Teaching Fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the ProTrack Co-Op Coordinator at Florida Institute of Technology. His research interests include applications in automotive/transportation safety, electro-mechanical systems, data analysis strategies and techniques, dynamic modeling, and engineering education.

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Jessica Ha Florida Institute of Technology

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Jessica Ha, Associate Director of Transfer and Transition Programs, is a staff member in the office of First Year Experience. She is responsible for the design and coordination of the University's first-year seminar and a course for academically at-risk students. Jessica received a bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in Counseling with a Student Affairs in Higher Education concentration from Montclair State University. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Science Education from Florida Institute of Technology.

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This evidence-based practice paper describes the collaborative effort between Student and Academic Affairs at a small, private, technological institution.

First-year introductory engineering courses have become commonplace for engineering programs of all types. Typically, these courses are taught by the engineering departments and used to improve engineering student retention and/or help undecided students choose a branch of engineering as their major of study. Tangentially, many universities have developed a first-year student seminar course to aide students in the transition to the university’s learning environment. These courses are delivered in a wide variety of formats, and the process and criteria for selecting instructors differs from school to school. As different as they may be, the underlying purpose of a first-year seminar is to introduce new students to topic areas that promote student success in the first year, thereby improving first-year student retention. At Florida Institute of Technology, all students are required to take University Experience, a one-credit first-year seminar. Likewise, undecided freshman-engineering students are required to take Introduction to Engineering, a broad three-credit first-year engineering course as part of the General Engineering program. In Fall 2015, the Introduction to Engineering students were grouped as a cohort and were registered for the same section of University Experience. By grouping the students together, the instructors of both courses were able to collaborate on topics and assignments, and jointly develop materials. The goal of this collaboration was to help students realize that many of the concepts learned about and discussed in one course are relevant outside of that particular class, and in particular, that much of the information taught in those two courses are related. By covering the same topics in both courses, it is proposed that students will better be able to see the relevance and the relationship between student success and their engineering education, improving the net benefit of these individual courses.

Jensen, M. J., & Ha, J. (2016, June), Increasing the Relevance of Shared Course Content through a Student and Academic Affairs Collaboration Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25678

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