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Shock And Awe Methodology For Recruiting Students

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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

Recruiting, Retention & Advising

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1094.1 - 9.1094.14



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Gerhart

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

Session 2253

Shock and Awe – Methodology for Recruiting Students.

Andrew L. Gerhart

Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI 48075


Oftentimes, a university is faced with a group of prospective engineering students, but only has limited time to explain many different facets of engineering. Data exist showing that in today’s “digital/information age” high school students can process large amounts of information quickly if their interest-level warrants. A methodology based on existing models has been developed and tested to show that students can be enticed and informed about a university’s engineering program within a limited time span. The method uses “shock and awe” to help students grasp information in a dynamic manner and helps them to remember their experience at the university. For recruitment purposes, the shock and awe method helps to explain what engineering is and/or why it is needed. When students are shocked and/or awed by a display or presentation, they pay attention and actively participate. For example, to recruit mechanical engineering students, a university may want to present a demonstration about projectile ballistics. A shocking and awing demonstration can accompany the presentation involving the burning of smokeless gun powder and black powder. The resulting smoke and flame will shock and awe the students. The shock and awe method is not simply a demonstration; a series of steps should accompany the demonstration. The instructor presents questions to visiting high school students. The students have to answer using their instincts, and when using the shock and awe method properly, their instincts lead the majority of the students into wrong answers. A shock and awe demonstration with supporting engineering data proves that their answer was wrong. The conclusion for the students is that engineering is valuable (because of the data, analysis, and answers it produces) and fun (because of the shocking and awing type of work they will do). The shock and awe method can and should be used for Freshman “Introduction to Engineering” courses as well. The shock and awe method opens communication between instructor and student. Once the lecture becomes dynamic, learning becomes fun.

1. Introduction

In 2003, the United States entered the Iraq War. The opening campaign was intended to stun the opposing forces (hopefully into quick submission). This battle plan is based on a concept

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

Gerhart, A. (2004, June), Shock And Awe Methodology For Recruiting Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12854

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