June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.939.1 - 23.939.8
Obtaining Critical Mass and Coalescence in Engineering Technology – Moving an ET Program to a Successful CommunityStudent retention is a topic often discussed and considered in four year institutions. For programretention it is important that Engineering and Engineering Technology students bond and obtainan identity on campus. Research shows that programs with strong student groups have higherretention rates than those without. New students are able to become acquainted withupperclassmen, to build friendships and to have informal mentors.Critical mass is a point of change or a situation at which change occurs. For faculty andadministrators to obtain “critical mass” in the student body they must help to create anatmosphere where clubs thrive and there is a strong sense of community. They coalesce and canact as a strong and influential single body on campus and beyond. This realization is animportant life lesson for students. They become not only strongly bonded to the program but alsoproud to be a part of the engineering community. They become leaders.The big question then is how can a university create an environment in which critical mass canbe achieved? This paper will discuss the influences that faculty and administration can have onthis process by means of a case study at a University where critical mass has been obtained.From a low of 220 students to a vital student body of 465, this paper describes the process andprograms that made the failing program grow to be a success. This was accomplished byapplying leadership principles, community building activities, building role models, fosteringteamwork, removing boundaries between faculty and students, teaching well, caring for,encouraging and empowering the students. Together, using best practices, the ET Divisionreinvented itself, became a leader in the university, and doubled STEM prepared graduates whoare sought after even during difficult economic times. It is the we, not the I, that is the ETDivision.
Miller, A. L., & Samples, J. W. (2013, June), Obtaining Critical Mass and Coalescence in Engineering Technology - Moving an ET Program to a Successful Community Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22324
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