June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Two Year College Division
24.938.1 - 24.938.11
Abstract for ASEE 2014 Nontraditional student access and success in engineering There is a shortage of baccalaureate engineering majors in the United States. Engineeringinstitutions need to attract more students. The National Science Board has published a detailedreport about the importance of maintaining and increasing the number of Science, Technology,Engineering, and Math (STEM) majors in the U.S. to stay competitive in this increasing globaleconomy. Nontraditional students could be a huge, potential source of engineers in the UnitedStates. The number of nontraditional students is increasing in higher education but is still a smallpopulation in engineering. Private, for profit institutions have been very popular and haveattracted many nontraditional students, with their enrollment of nontraditional students reaching89%. Nontraditional students have been studied in community colleges and urban universities,but have been rarely studied at public 4-year universities in engineering due to a lack oflongitudinal data on individual students. We studied nontraditional students using the Multiple-Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD).MIDFIELD is large enough to provide a better understanding of nontraditional students in public4 year universities, identify conditions where they are more numerous and more successful, andexplore the conditions that support their success. MIDFIELD is a longitudinal, multi-institutional, and multivariate dataset of over 209,737 engineering students. In this research, weexamine nontraditional and traditional students that may be similar or different in outcomes anddemographics. The focus is on engineering, rather than all the Science, Technology, Engineeringand Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, because engineering is different from science, technology,and mathematics. The reported results are representative of large public institutions that haveengineering departments and colleges. The universities in our data are a good representation ofthe U.S. engineering Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. This research informs the process ofbroadening participation in engineering to increase the quantity and diversity of engineeringbaccalaureate degree recipients. Specifically, this research helps us understand the demographics and outcomes ofnontraditional engineering students. Results from the research show that nontraditional studentsare 10% of the undergraduate engineering population from 1988 to 2002. We find that 37% oftraditional students who switch into engineering graduate in engineering, whereas only 16% ofnontraditional students who switch into engineering make it to graduation. This suggests thatnontraditional students face additional barriers that limit their ability to switch into engineering. This inquiry will lead to the identification of practices that promote the access andsuccess of a larger and more diverse population of nontraditional students.
Bushey-McNeil, J., & Ohland, M. W., & Long, R. A. (2014, June), Nontraditional Student Access and Success in Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22871
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