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Perspectives On First Year Engineering Education

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD6 - First Year Curricula Development

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

13.977.1 - 13.977.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3740

Download Count

38

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Paper Authors

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Kerry Meyers University of Notre Dame

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Ms. Meyers is the co-coordinator of the First Year Engineering Program at the Univeristy of Notre Dame.

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John Uhran University of Notre Dame

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Dr. Uhran is the former Sr. Associate Dean of Engineering and now Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. He continues to have a great interest in furthering and improving Engineering Education at the university level and pre-engineering in K-12.

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Catherine Pieronek University of Notre Dame

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Ms. Pieronek is director of academic affairs and the women's engineering program at the University of Notre Dame College of Engineering.

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Dan Budny University of Pittsburgh

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Dr. Dan Budny is the Director of the freshman program at the University of Pittsburgh.

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John Ventura Christian Brothers University

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John Ventura is Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Christian Brothers University. His research interest includes formulating evaluation processes for engineering departments and developing online learning environments.

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Patricia Ralston University of Louisville

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Dr. Ralston is Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Louisville. In addition to her work with first and second year students, she is actively engaged in research related to process control and cyber security.

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John K. Estell Ohio Northern University

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John K. Estell is Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department, and Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science, at Ohio Northern University. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His areas of research include simplifying the outcomes assessment process, user interface design, and the pedagogical aspects of writing computer games. Dr. Estell is a Senior Member of IEEE, and a member of ACM, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon.

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Constance Slaboch University of Notre Dame

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Ms. Slaboch is a first year mechanical engineering graduate student at the University of Notre Dame. Her research involves the wear and friction of bovine cartilage.

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Brenda Hart University of Louisville

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Professor Hart is the director of student affairs in the School of Engineering at the University of Louisville. Her research interests include recruitment and retention programming for females and under-represented minorities as well as work with first and second year engineering students.

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Rebecca Ladewski University of Notre Dame

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Ms. Ladewski graduated in 2007 from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in philosophy and chemical engineering. She is currently a chemical engineering graduate student at MIT, where she is interested in research relating to energy or the environment.

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

Some Perspectives on First Year Engineering Education

Abstract

In the engineering education pipeline, the first year of a student’s college experience sets the tone for the future and, indeed, whether a student decides to remain in the engineering program at all. Engineering programs around the country experience difficulty in assisting students with the transition from high school to college, and struggle with the delicate balance between supporting a student’s transitional needs and maintaining academic rigor in a demanding major. The first year confronts students with a curriculum that challenges their long held beliefs of “being good in math and science.” Their first introduction to engineering education throws them into the realm of learning through experience and discovery. This at times can be overwhelming and challenging, on the way to achieving the goal of providing them with enough information to help them understand the breadth of the engineering profession and to prepare them for their sophomore year in engineering. During the summers of 2006 and 2007, engineering educators gathered at the University of Notre Dame to engage in discussions on how best to achieve the goals of this complex first-year experience. This paper elaborates upon three specific discussion points that have emerged from these summer workshops, including: (1) the relationship between persistence in engineering and the first year experience; (2) how to prepare first-year students to “stay the course”; and (3) trends in first year engineering program design. Finally, this paper will discuss the attendance at and feedback received from the workshops so that other universities can consider this as an opportunity to host their own regional first-year engineering workshop.

Background & Introduction

Many of today’s engineering educators recognize the need to develop a first-year engineering curriculum that takes into consideration the diverse academic, social, cultural, and economic backgrounds of an incoming class of students. Generally speaking, many feel that today’s students are more academically prepared, but are less prepared to be individually responsible for the largely self-directed study required in college. Ultimately, these students experience a transition from high school to college that is different and potentially more difficult than in the past. Universities around the country have initiated a variety of programs to ease this transition. Not all programs that are successful at one university will be successful at another, but a discussion of various aspects used by successful programs can raise the level of consciousness or understanding of faculty and provide a basis for dialogue that can lead to the implementation of innovative programs for first-year engineering students. Such topics include developing effective advising techniques, creating learning communities, using technology in the classroom, and addressing the needs of students from diverse backgrounds.

For the past two years, a first-year engineering workshop entitled Dialogue on Engineering Education: the Role of the First Year has been held at the University of Notre Dame to engage engineering educators on these and other topics. It was conceived as a way for those involved in first-year programs to discuss current pedagogical approaches and to engage in an open dialogue on issues that pertain specifically to first year engineering education. The workshop offered formal presentation sessions, panel discussions, and breakout sessions.

Meyers, K., & Uhran, J., & Pieronek, C., & Budny, D., & Ventura, J., & Ralston, P., & Estell, J. K., & Slaboch, C., & Hart, B., & Ladewski, R. (2008, June), Perspectives On First Year Engineering Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3740

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