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Performance And Retention Of Transfer Engineering Students

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Two Year College Tech Session III

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.974.1 - 13.974.10



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Paper Authors

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Alexander Shayevich Pima Community College

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Jeff Goldberg University of Arizona


Judy Edson University of Arizona

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Judy Edson is a WEB Applications Programmer and Database Specialist for the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona. She provides the College with all data requests and web programming to automate most of the College's data needs. Judy has been working for the College of Engineering for the last 7 years. She has BS degrees in Management Informations Systems and accounting

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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. 10.18260/1-2--3395

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: © 2008 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