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Preparatory Summer "Introduction To Engineering: Mission To Mars" Course For Incoming Minority Engineering Students At The University Of Michigan

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering/Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1005.1 - 9.1005.13

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Paper Authors

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John Norton

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

Session Number 3470

Preparatory summer "Introduction to Engineering: Mission to Mars" course for incoming minority engineering students at the University of Michigan

John W. Norton, Jr., Chad J. Ohlandt, Anna L. Paulson, Darryl Koch, Rod Johnson, and Derrick E. Scott

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan


This paper describes and evaluates the preparatory summer “Introduction to Engineering” course offered as part of the Professionals-in-Training Program (PTP) at the University of Michigan College of Engineering (CoE). The Professionals-in-Training Program is one of three summer Bridge programs, sponsored by the Minority Engineering Program Office (MEPO), which target students in groups that have been historically underrepresented in the College and others who might face particular obstacles in coming to the College. These Bridge programs encompass the Ford Motor Company Summer Engineering Institute (Ford SEI) and are designed to facilitate the successful transition from high school to college for students coming in with various levels of academic preparation. Specifically, these courses preview and prepare incoming engineering students for the freshman academic experience by offering classes in computer programming, math, physics, and Introduction to Engineering, the latter focusing on engineering problem- solving, team work, and technical communication skills.

This paper first describes the University of Michigan College of Engineering MEPO organization and goals, with a focus on recruitment, retention, and pre-freshman programs, and includes several years of longitudinal data. Secondly, it briefly describes the focus, goals, structure and outcomes assessment of the “Introduction to Engineering” course at the University of Michigan. Finally, it details the specific aspects of the “Introduction to Engineering: Mission to Mars” course developed and offered as a summer preparatory course and discusses changes which will be implemented in future class offerings as a result of student assessment and feedback data.

1 Introduction

In 2003, a “Mission to Mars” theme was chosen by the CoE Ford SEI instructors for the PTP Introduction to Engineering course in order to incorporate the widest possible number of engineering disciplines. The specific focus was the cost-effective design of the life support

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Norton, J. (2004, June), Preparatory Summer "Introduction To Engineering: Mission To Mars" Course For Incoming Minority Engineering Students At The University Of Michigan Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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