June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Two Year College Division
13.974.1 - 13.974.10
Performance and Retention of Transfer Engineering Students
The College of Engineering at the University of Arizona (UA) and The Engineering Program at Pima Community College (PCC) have a long history of partnership. In a typical year, nearly 100 engineering students formally transfer from PCC to UA. These students have at least 24 transfer credits. Also, UA students take single classes at PCC as the schedule may be more flexible, class sizes are smaller, and instructors have a reputation for effective instruction. In a given academic year, students who originally transferred from PCC can account for 15% of the UA engineering graduate BS degrees.
This paper makes two contributions. First we describe survey results that compare key differences in PCC and UA students. Differences in age, hours working and classroom experience are clear. Also, the survey suggests key reasons why students select PCC over the UA when they actually have a choice. The second contribution is an analysis of PCC student success after transferring to the UA. We consider both graduation rates and grades in follow-on classes. This analysis is interesting since there is a UA faculty perception that students from PCC are weaker and less prepared than UA lower division students. Specifically we examine the graduation rates of the fall 1999 and fall 2000 transfer cohorts and the grades in some key junior level classes in civil and electrical engineering.
Background and Study Questions
The University of Arizona’s College of Engineering has approximately 2350 undergraduate students spread over 18 majors (14 accredited). 75% of the students are Arizona residents. A typical entering class in fall has approximately 450 new 1st time students, 100 transfers from 2- year and 4-year schools, 50 international students (not counted in the previous two categories), and 10 re-admits of students who were previously in academic difficulty. In fall 2007 the 1st time students had an average SAT score of 1210, 3.6 academic GPA, and an average class rank in the top 11%. 40% of the 1st time students had credit for calculus I through either AP, dual- enrollment, or community college channels. Less than 15% of the 1st time students are not calculus ready. Students with math deficiencies or lower SAT and GPA scores are placed in a pre-engineering program and given special advisors, tutoring programs, and a 1-credit student success seminar. In fall 2007, there were 90 1st time freshman designated as pre-engineering. Typical 1st year retention in engineering can be variable, but we have held steady at the 75% level for the past 2 entering classes. These students have an 85% 1st year retention at the UA (as compared to the general UA retention of 80%) so there is some movement out of engineering to other colleges at the University.
Instructors at UA tend to be tenure track faculty with PhD’s in engineering/math/science fields. They are heavily involved in research (UA is a Research I classified university) and some may have extensive industry experience. Instructors in the freshman classes tend to proven effective teachers and may be “industry adjuncts.” Sophomore engineering science classes can be taught
Shayevich, A., & Goldberg, J., & Edson, J. (2008, June), Performance And Retention Of Transfer Engineering Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3395
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