Asee peer logo

Shaping The Battlefield To Increase Enrollments In Civil Engineering

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Where Are Tomorrow's Civil Engineers?

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1012.1 - 8.1012.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Sean Buchholtz

author page

Reid Vander Schaaf

Download Paper |

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

Session 1315

Shaping the Battlefield to Increase Enrollments in Civil Engineering

Seán P. Buchholtz, Reid Vander Schaaf Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering United States Military Academy, West Point, New York

Abstract Similar to many undergraduate institutions around the nation, the United States Military Academy at West Point has experienced a steady decrease in the number of students enrolling in the Civil Engineering Major. To counter this trend, USMA runs several programs and initiatives targeted at three distinct groups: the high school student, the college freshman and the West Point Civil Engineering Program. The battlefield is the mind of the potential civil engineering student. Our strategy to reverse this trend and shape this arena is based on marketing. Our marketing objectives are to create an interest in engineering and to develop a positive department reputation within the student body. This paper addresses outreach practices employed by the Civil Engineering Division at West Point to increase enrollments from the high school student to the faculty role model.

Introduction In order to judiciously combat the recent decrease in civil engineers majors, we first had to answer the question “Exactly what attracts students to civil engineering in the first place?” To accomplish this, we conducted a short survey of our fifty-six incoming civil majors from the class of 2005. We addressed the survey to the class of 2005 because they have not yet taken a class taught by the Civil Department, and therefore, would generally be unbiased. The survey asked the following seven questions:

1) When did you decide to be a civil engineer [high school, plebe (freshman) year, yearling (sophomore) year]? 2) What event first generated your interest in civil engineering [science fair, TV special, teacher, etc.]? At what age? 3) As a plebe (freshman), did you participate in the West Point Bridge Designer (WPBD) Competition? 4) Did any department activity [open house, etc] influence your decision to be a civil engineer? 5) In your opinion, what is the Civil Engineer Program’s reputation at West Point [hard, easy, work load, grades, etc.]? 6) Do you have a parent or relative who is a civil engineer? If yes, what is their relationship to you? 7) What most influenced your decision to choose Civil Engineering as a major?

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Buchholtz, S., & Vander Schaaf, R. (2003, June), Shaping The Battlefield To Increase Enrollments In Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12200

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: © 2003 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