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Increasing the Success Rates of Engineering Students After Transferring into Four Year Colleges from Community Colleges: It’s Much More Than Dollars

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Ignatius Fomunung University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

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Dr Ignatius Fomunung is a Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Since 2016, he also has an appointment as Visiting Professor at Changsha University of Science and Technology (CSUST) in Hunan Province China. He obtained the Ph.D. degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He also holds a BS in Civil Engineering from the Southeast University, China, a MS in Atomic and Molecular Physics from Clark Atlanta University, and a MS in Transportation Engineering from GaTech. Dr Fomunung teaches courses and conducts research in the fields of transportation-energy-air quality analysis and modeling, transportation planning and land use development, and in infrastructure systems analysis and design, monitoring, and rehabilitation. He is the director of UTC’s Center for Energy, Transportation and the Environment (CETE). Recently, Dr Fomunung has diversified his focus area to include research in STEM education, exploring strategies that promote student matriculation, persistence, and success in STEM fields.

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Christopher Silver University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

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Marcy Porter University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

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ASSETS - Academic Intervention, Social Supports, and Scholarships for Engineering Transfer Students is an NSF sponsored program at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga designed to help engineering transfer students overcome known academic and social barriers that impede retention or prolong graduation time following transfer from two-year community colleges into four year colleges. ASSETS is now in its fourth year of implementation. Several focus groups conducted among these scholars have consistently ranked the scholarship received as the number one contributing factor to their success. Other secondary but important factors have also emerged, suggesting that these students perceive the four-year institutions as lukewarm at best and hostile at worst to their ability to acclimate. These secondary factors indicate that these institutions need to become more welcoming by adopting strategies that are intentional in addressing the needs of these students, given current situational needs placing all the burden on them to adapt to their new environment. We conducted attitudinal surveys among students and faculty to gauge how pervasive these negative perceptions are among engineering transfer students. The survey analysis revealed that many faculty members do not differentiate between transfer students and traditional students and may therefore not be sensitive to their unique needs. However, faculty members associated with the ASSETS scholars, through serving as faculty mentors, were found to be aware of these differences and are already implementing measures that reflect a shift in mindset benefiting transfer students. This paper presents the findings of the surveys and the outcomes of the new mindset toward providing support to and enhancing the success of engineering transfer students.

Fomunung, I., & Silver, C., & Porter, M. (2022, August), Increasing the Success Rates of Engineering Students After Transferring into Four Year Colleges from Community Colleges: It’s Much More Than Dollars Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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