June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.987.1 - 12.987.9
Introduction to Environmental Engineering course aimed at Recruiting and Retaining students
In Fall 2006, the 1-credit Introduction to Environmental Engineering (EVEN) course was significantly revised. The goals were two-fold: (1) increase the ability of the course to recruit and retain students in the EVEN major; (2) place a greater emphasis on sustainability and global engineering in the course. This is the third significant revision since the course first started in 2000. Over the first 4 years, the course included 7 homework assignments largely geared at basic information to help freshman students be successful and guest lectures by faculty. The second course model (2004 – 2005) included reading of key environmental engineering books (such as Silent Spring, etc), current and former EVEN students as guest speakers, and time for in-class discussion. The third, new, model includes case studies and in-depth assignments similar to higher-level coursework and design in environmental engineering. Student retention data indicates that the second model seems significantly more successful than the first. Student feedback on all three models is compared. The EVEN course is also compared to 1-credit introductory courses offered to students in other majors.
Course Models in Freshman Environmental Engineering Course
At the University of Colorado - Boulder, all of the engineering majors are required to offer a 1- credit introductory course to first year students. The specific goals and activities of these courses can vary, but in general they must provide students with basic information on the major and the career options open to students with a degree in that area in order to assist students in understanding the discipline. Students may take more than one of these courses to compare and contrast different majors. Alternatively, students who have not yet selected a specific engineering major (so-called open option students) will take a course that gives an overview of all of the engineering majors available at the University of Colorado. Introductory courses to first-year students are offered at many universities.1,2,3,4 Sometimes a full 3-credits is allocated to the course and it is project-based. At the University of Colorado, students have an opportunity to take a first-year 3-credit projects course5,6, although this course isn’t required across all majors. In addition, students are often enrolled in project sections that are not at all related to the major they are interested in, so keeping the 1-credit courses for major-specific information is important. Regardless of the form, first-year courses are generally found to be critical opportunities to engage students and help retain them in engineering.
In Fall 2006, the 1-credit Introduction to Environmental Engineering (EVEN) course was significantly revised. The goals were two-fold: (1) increase the ability of the course to recruit and retain students in the EVEN major; (2) place a greater emphasis on sustainability and global engineering in the course. In fact, it was hypothesized that the emphasis on sustainability and global engineering could help achieve the recruiting and retention goal, particularly for female and minority students. Previous research has indicated that these topics help attract women to engineering.7 In addition, Seymour found that: “In the process of developing and clarifying their career goals, however, women expressed more altruism than men and were more likely to switch
Bielefeldt, A. (2007, June), Introduction To Environmental Engineering Courses Aimed At Recruiting And Retaining Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1927
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