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Longitudinal Effects of the Foundation Coalition Curriculum on Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Student Performance

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Tuesday Potpourri

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First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is an assistant research scientist at the Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) within the College of Engineering, Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with specialties in Gifted Education and her M.S.Ed. in Educational Psychology with specialties in Research Methods and Measurement both from Purdue University. Her work centers on P-16 STEM education research with a focus on engineering as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. She has authored/co-authored more than 40 journal articles and conference proceedings and served as a reviewer of journals in engineering education, STEM education, and educational psychology, as well as an external evaluator and an advisory board member on several NSF-funded projects.

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Mark T. Holtzapple Texas A&M University

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Mark Holtzapple received his chemical engineering degrees from Cornell University (BS, 1978) and the University of Pennsylvania (PhD, 1981). After his formal education, he served as a captain in the US Army Natick R&D Center and worked on a miniature air conditioner for soldiers wearing chemical protective clothing. In 1986, he joined the faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He has received many awards for teaching and research, including the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the president and vice president of the United States. His research focuses on sustainability including conversion of waste biomass to fuels, chemicals, and animal feed; high-efficiency engines and air conditioners; conversion of waste heat to electricity; high-torque electric motors; and water desalination.

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Bonnie J. Dunbar Ph.D. Texas A&M University

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Professor Bonnie J. Dunbar, PhD NAE RSEcorr

TEES Distinguished Research Professor
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Director, Institute for Engineering Education Innovation (IEEI)
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Dr. Dunbar is a retired NASA astronaut, engineer and educator, currently with Texas A&M Engineering as a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. She also has a joint appointment as the Director of the TEES Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI).
Dunbar, who is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, came to Texas A&M from the University of Houston where she was an M.D. Anderson Professor of Mechanical Engineering. There she provided leadership in the development of a new integrated university science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) center and was Director of the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston. She also directed the SICSA Space Architecture and Aerospace graduate programs. She has devoted her life to furthering engineering, engineering education, and the pursuit of human space exploration.
Dunbar worked for The Rockwell International Space Division Company building Space Shuttle Columbia and worked for 27 years at NASA, first as a flight controller; then as a mission specialist astronaut, where she flew five space shuttle flights, logging more than 50 days in space; and then served for 7 years as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). Her executive service included assistant NASA JSC director for university research; deputy director for Flight Crew Operations; Associate Director for ISS Mission Operations development, and as NASA headquarters deputy associate administrator for the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications (OLMSA).
After retiring from NASA, Dunbar became president and CEO of The Museum of Flight in Seattle, where she established a new Space Gallery and expanded its K12 STEM educational offerings. She has also consulted in aerospace and STEM education as the president of Dunbar International LLC, and is an internationally known public speaker.
Dunbar holds bachelor and master degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston.
She is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. She has been awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal five times, the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. Dunbar was inducted into the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 2002 was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering. In 2013 she was selected into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and is currently the President of the international Association of Space Explorers.

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This Complete Research explores the longitudinal effects of the Foundation Coalition (FC) curriculum on chemical and petroleum engineering student graduation outcomes: retention, time-to-graduation, and cumulative GPA. In 1993, a large southwest public university joined the FC, a 10-year multi-university NSF initiative to improve first-year engineering (FYE) education. After pilot classes were developed, in 1998 the FC curriculum was implemented college-wide. In 2003, the university adopted a track system with the FYE foundational courses separated into three tracks: Track A (aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, civil, industrial, mechanical, and nuclear engineering), Track B (computer and electrical engineering), and Track C (chemical and petroleum engineering). Track A was primarily project-based and used Mindstorms, Legos, magnetic balls, and beams to build structures. Track B focused on circuit design and computer programming. Only Track C maintained the FC curriculum until 2013. The target population of this study is first-time-in-college (FTIC) chemical or petroleum engineering students who started in summer or fall during the 2005 to 2007 school year and took Track A (339 students) or Track C (256 students). There was no statistically significant difference in retention. Although Track C students graduated in engineering 0.18 semesters quicker than Track A students, the differences were not statistically significant. However, there was a statistically significant difference in the cumulative GPAs when they graduated in engineering: Track C students’ average cumulative GPA (3.27) was significantly higher than Track A students (3.16).

Yoon, S. Y., & Holtzapple, M. T., & Dunbar, B. J. (2017, June), Longitudinal Effects of the Foundation Coalition Curriculum on Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Student Performance Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28633

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