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Preliminary Results Of A Longitudinal Study Into The Academic Success Of Students In Technology Focused Vs. Humanities Programs

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

12.1172.1 - 12.1172.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2376

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

biography

Mary Frances Stewart

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MARY F. (FRANKIE) STEWART
Frankie Stewart, B.A.Sc. (Queen’s U.), M.Eng. (U. of Toronto), is a Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Ryerson University. Professor Stewart is a recipient of the FEAS Teaching Excellence Award at Ryerson University (2006), of Honourable Mention in the 2005 province-wide competition for the COU Award for Teaching with Technology, and of the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, FL (2005). Her research interests are in a cross-section of cognition and technology. Together with Dr. Zywno she is a holder of a nationally funded grant to support their research in engineering education. She is a member of ASEE, SME, and a registered Professional Engineer.

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biography

Malgorzata Zywno Ryerson University

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MALGORZATA S. (GOSHA) ZYWNO
Gosha Zywno, M.Eng. (U. of Toronto), Ph.D. (Glasgow Caledonian U.), is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ryerson University. Dr. Zywno is a recipient of several university, national and international teaching excellence and achievement awards, including the 2005 ASEE Sharon Keillor Award, 2002 3M Teaching Fellowship and 2005 Canadian Engineers’ Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education. Her research interests are in active, collaborative learning with technology. She has authored numerous papers and presentations on engineering education, and is a winner of eight best paper awards, including the 2002 Annual ASEE Conference Best Paper Award. Professor Zywno is a member of ASEE, STLHE, Senior Member of IEEE, and a registered Professional Engineer.

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

Preliminary Results of a Longitudinal Study into the Academic Success of Students in Technology-Focused vs. Humanities Programs

Mary F. Stewart and Malgorzata S. Zywno

Ryerson University

Abstract

Attrition rates in junior years of technology-focused programs are much higher than in humanities. As well, in recent years technology-focused programs have been experiencing drops in enrollment, and difficulties in attracting qualified candidates, while admissions to other programs seem unaffected. Such trends are worrying and thus we, as educators, need to improve efforts to better understand our students that would in turn allow the university to better plan and tailor their student success, retention and recruitment programs. This paper reports on the background and initial hypotheses as well as on the first survey results of a new longitudinal study which is intended to provide insight into retention issues, including an investigation of a “filtering effect” of the traditional instruction that the authors hypothesize is taking place and is partly responsible for high dropout rates, as well as for the reduced diversity of the student body as they progress through the technology-focused versus humanities programs. The study will also provide recommendations to improve student engagement and success.

Introduction

High attrition rates and feelings of alienation are the flip side of student success and satisfaction. They are much higher in junior years of technology-focused programs than in humanities. At the authors’ university, up to 30% of engineering students drop out at the end of their first year, a percentage typical when compared with other technology-focused programs. High attrition rates are a disservice to students and parents, as well as to universities and funding bodies (i.e. government), because they cost money, affect planning process and reduce diversity of the student body. Moreover, in recent years all technology-focused programs have been experiencing drops in enrollment, and difficulties in attracting qualified candidates, while admissions to other programs seem unaffected. Such trends are worrying at a time when the very well-being of post- industrial society and of environment depends so much on technology. High attrition rates and drops in enrollments in technology-focused programs have been linked to two contributing factors. The first is globalization of the economy with a host of implications for the job prospects (e.g. outsourcing, “race to the bottom” in labor market, etc.) that impact potential students’ perceptions of the desirability of certain career choices. While this factor is completely outside of

Stewart, M. F., & Zywno, M. (2007, June), Preliminary Results Of A Longitudinal Study Into The Academic Success Of Students In Technology Focused Vs. Humanities Programs Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2376

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