August 23, 2022
June 26, 2022
June 29, 2022
This IUSE: Engaged Student Learning project will conduct a study of nontraditional students in engineering (NTSE) to better understand how to support their co-curricular activities so that they are better able to persist with engineering as a discipline.
Nontraditional students (NTS) are increasing both as a proportion of undergraduates and in overall numbers. This is especially the case within engineering as people in the workforce return to complete their degrees or are looking to finish school on a part-time basis. Online offerings across higher education institutions has further accelerated this trend. However, there is little research into engineering students that possesses characteristics associated with nontraditional students. Engineering as an educational enterprise has been designed to support a traditional four-year residential degree (e.g. group projects, study halls) and NTS are disadvantaged. Prior work has demonstrated better effectiveness for teaching and pedagogy if co-curricular activities are supported and if proper awareness and access to student support mechanisms are in place students are more likely to be successful. Therefore, we need to understand the efficacy of support structures for nontraditional characteristics. The need for this proposed work is critical within engineering as the discipline traditionally has a low persistence and retention rate and this is also the case for NTSE. This work is especially pertinent in the current climate where NTS are additionally burdened due to COVID-19 – there is less support in time of greater need.
This research looks to answer one research questions: (1) What impact does NTS characteristics have on student integration and student success?
To answer the research questions, we will present and show findings from the engineering student support instrument. The survey instrument contains 22 questions relating to four constructs of integration: (1) Academic, (2) Social, (3) Professional, and (4) University. The survey was administered during the Fall 2021 semester with 142 responses from engineering students in all years. The results will showcase differences between traditional and nontraditional students in regards to their experiences with co-curricular supports.
Brozina, C. (2022, August), Nontraditional students in engineering: Studying student support and success experiences to improve persistence and retention Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/42117
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