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Keeping a Prospect on the Line and Then in the Boat: Recruitment and Retention Efforts that Make a Difference

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Creating a Positive Environment for Learning

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Ronald W. Welch The Citadel

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Ron Welch (P.E.) received his B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1990 and 1999, respectively. He became the Dean of Engineering at The Citadel on 1 July 2011. Prior to his current position, he was the Department Head of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler from Jan 2007 to June 2011 as well as served in the Corps of Engineers for over 24 years including eleven years on the faculty at the United States Military Academy.

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Kevin C. Bower P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Kevin Bower is the D. Graham Copeland Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Bower’s teaching research interests are in improving active learning environments and the development of classroom pedagogy to improve moral development in engineering students.

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Robert J. Rabb P.E. The Citadel

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Robert Rabb is an associate professor and the Mechanical Engineering Program Director at The Citadel. He previously taught mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his M.S.E. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests are in mechatronics, regenerative power, and multidisciplinary engineering.

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Ally Kindel Martin The Citadel

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Ally Kindel Martin is the Director of Student Success in the School of Engineering. In her position, she has worked with the Supplemental Instruction program, launched STEM Freshmen Outreach initiatives, created an Engineering Mentor Connection program, and revitalized the Engineering Career & Networking Expo. She holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina. Previously she worked as a Student Success Adviser and focused on early intervention initiatives. She has taught courses including First Year Seminar, Keys to Student Success and University 101.

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The university is experiencing a doubling of engineering enrollments over the last five years after many years of flat enrollments. The school has a unique mission that pulls in students from across the nation, so long-term pipeline development is outside the scope of this paper. However, once a student has made contact and a commitment to attend, there are a number of activities and processes employed both before they arrive and during their first year to maintain the pipeline and retain in engineering once on campus. Besides creating a culture of open communications with potential students, there are focused efforts to increase engagement of engineering students with faculty, engineering professionals, and peers to maintain student interest in working towards their engineering degree

The overall goals of the activities were to design an effective recruiting and retention program that allowed students to be a part of a dynamic and supportive educational environment inside and outside of the classroom. While each first year student has different needs and challenges, all still need information and resources that will help them succeed as well as connect on campus, so that they feel less alienated and more like they can meet their educational goals.

This paper will describe and assess the use of college visits, summer school and engineering activities prior to the first year, and scholarships and cohorts to bring in minorities and females as well as programs and activities during the first year such as supplemental instruction, STEM lab, STEM freshmen events, disciplinary and residence hall tutors. Presented data will support the success of these programs.

Welch, R. W., & Bower, K. C., & Rabb, R. J., & Martin, A. K. (2018, June), Keeping a Prospect on the Line and Then in the Boat: Recruitment and Retention Efforts that Make a Difference Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30745

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