June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1175.1 - 26.1175.13
ASEE 2015 – Multi‐Institutional Evaluation of Engineering Discipline Selection During the fall of 2014, a quantitative study of first‐year engineering student discipline selection was conducted at four dissimilar institutions in the Midwest: (1) a medium‐sized public urban, (2) a medium‐sized suburban private, (3) a large public urban land grant, and (4) a large public urban. The institutions studied were selected to evaluate both program similarities and differences. A primary attribute that separates the institutions is the process by which students matriculate to a degree program. Three of the four institutions in the study have a formal First‐Year Engineering Program in which students do not declare an engineering major initially. Instead, students determine their path throughout the first year as they gather information about the engineering disciplines offered at their institution; generally students begin in their selected engineering discipline in the fall of their sophomore year, after completing the First‐Year Engineering Program requirements for their institution. The fourth institution, the large public urban, has direct matriculation to engineering disciplinary programs (although students may still switch to another discipline even after taking an introductory course sequence in a different engineering discipline). The fourth institution, the large public urban, has direct matriculation to engineering disciplinary programs (although it is still relatively easy to change disciplines up through the first semester, after which students begin with disciplinary coursework). Another differentiating factor is that three of the four institutions studied are public schools in urban settings while the fourth is private in a suburban setting. Finally, the institutions studied vary in terms of enrollments: two were medium‐sized universities with approximately 10,000‐15,000 undergraduates and two are large universities with more than 30,000 undergraduates. By virtue of the study design (using multiple dissimilar institutions in terms of enrollments, campus environments, and engineering program structure), researchers will be able to make meaningful statistical comparisons generalizable to other institutions about First‐Year Engineering disciplinary selection. At all four institutions, an on‐line survey was conducted at the start and at the end of the fall 2014 semester. The questions related to how interested students are in engineering (as compared to other academic majors), how certain they are that engineering is the best field of study for them, which discipline of engineering they are most interested in studying, and how certain they are of that engineering discipline choice. Additionally, an open‐ended response section asked the students to describe what someone from a specific discipline could do in the workplace. For this study, the disciplines of Civil, Chemical, Electrical, and Mechanical were chosen due to their commonality among the participating institutions. For the initial survey, there were complete survey responses from 2,744 students, which was a collective 58.2% response rate across the four institutions studied. The preliminary results indicate the students enrolled in the large universities look most similar in terms of their level of interest in engineering and their certainty that engineering is the best academic major for them. The urban public and the large urban public had the largest percentage of students indicating the highest level of interest in engineering, with 80.7% and 78.3% of respondents selecting “Very Interested,” respectively. Finally, the students at the private school indicated the lowest level of certainty of engineering being the best major for them, and likewise the lowest certainty of engineering discipline selection. While these results are preliminary, the final survey responses will allow for comparisons both between institutions and within each institution. Analysis of the open‐ended response questions will also allow for an examination of how student understanding of the four disciplines chosen change over the course of the first semester. The remaining data will be collected at the conclusion of the fall 2014 semester and complete results available for the full paper submission.
Meyers, K. L., & Bucks, G. W., & Harper, K. A., & Goodrich, V. E. (2015, June), Multi-Institutional Evaluation of Engineering Discipline Selection Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24512
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015