June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1091.1 - 11.1091.7
RETENTION STRATEGIES IN SMALLER TECHNOLOGY MAJORS Abstract
The technology programs in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford vary widely in number of incoming students. The three smallest programs or majors, Computer Engineering Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology, each comprise fewer than 20 entering students a year. The larger programs, Architectural Engineering Technology and Audio Engineering Technology, each bring in about 40 or more entering students a year. The three smaller programs face issues retaining first-year students who typically come into the University with lower SAT scores, enroll in majors that are perceived to be more difficult and less ‘fun,’ and tend to be lost among the larger populations. However, we have devised strategies to engage students in those smaller majors, and those strategies appear to be working. In this paper, we will share our strategies and plans for future activities aimed at retaining and growing our student population in the three smallest majors in the College.
Engineering and technology educators and administrators have written about retention issues extensively.1-9 An important factor in retention is the first-year experience.1 The body of work for increasing retention is differentiated by two types of instruction, one that offers lecture style, passive learning environments and the other that provides experiential learning with hands-on experience. Each institution should reflect and examine it’s own internal dynamics and reasons why students leave engineering technology programs as suggested by the study.5 This impetus was the motivation for the assessment of retention issues in the smaller technology programs in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA).
The technology programs in the newly merged College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford vary widely in enrollments. The largest programs, Architectural Engineering Technology (AET) and Audio Engineering Technology (AuET), easily attract 40 or more students each year because they are unique and offer more opportunities to express creativity early in the course of study. Those two programs could consistently bring in more students if not for limits imposed by space and faculty considerations. In contrast, our three smaller programs, Computer Engineering Technology (CET), Electronic Engineering Technology (EET), and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET), are found on many campuses, are related closely to Engineering disciplines, and are perceived to be more narrowly structured, restrictive, and demanding with only long-term rewards.2 These programs enroll no more than 20 students a year.
Beginning almost ten years ago, the authors noticed that the students in AET and AuET easily formed strong, major-specific communities that included study groups and informal support groups. Those students seemed to have a strong commitment to their programs and continuing their studies. CET, EET, and MET students did not form those communities and did not seem to have the same commitment as reflected in declining numbers. Though the students in these majors were in the same section of the same course, they were typically scattered among other
Girouard, J., & Milanovic, I., & Segal, N., & Townsend, D. S. L. (2006, June), Retention Strategies In Smaller Technology Majors Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/327
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