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Soldier to Engineer: From the Battlefield to the Classroom

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Public Policy in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1312.1 - 22.1312.15



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Paper Authors


Stephanie Adams Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Stephanie G. Adams an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. She previously spent ten years as a Professor of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering (Concentration area: Industrial Engineering and Management), from Texas A&M University. Dr. Adams is an honor graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering. She also received the Master of Engineering degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include Team Effectiveness, Collaborative and Active Learning, Engineering Education and Pedagogy, and Quality Control and Management.

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Rosalyn S. Hobson Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Rosalyn S. Hobson has been at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1996. Currently she is the School of Engineering Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the VCU/University of KwaZulu Natal International Partnership in South Africa. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include artificial neural networks, K-16 STEM education, and international development STEM activities. In 2003 she was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Diplomacy Fellowship.

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Soldier to Engineer: Expediting the Process With the passage of the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008 it isexpected that more veterans will consider pursuing a college education upon their separationfrom the military. This expectation means, “higher education must act immediately to developprograms that more effectively promote access and success for this underrepresented group.”1 Italso means “a seamless transition from the battlefield to the classroom is needed.”1 In November 2008 the American Council of Education (ACE) released an Issue Brief,entitled Serving Those Who Serve: Higher Education and American’s Veterans. In this report,ACE, identified the issues facing higher education “on the cusp of serving more than 2 millionmilitary veterans as they return from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.” This Issue Brief alsoidentified “factors that positively affect veteran participation in higher education—namely,greater access to accurate and timely information; streamlined processes for accessing educationbenefits; academic credit for military training and experience; and transitional support programson college campuses.”1 Based on focus groups conducted by ACE, veteran’s reported findinginstitutions that recognize their military training and experience during the admissions processwere difficult. They return from serving our country with dozens of military course credits, andare told there is little to no equivalency for their training and experience as it relates to pursuingan engineering degree. This is confounding to most veterans given the “engineering” jobs theywere performing while on active duty. In many cases veterans were compared to traditionalstudents and given little to no credit for “the range of experiences and leadership skills theveteran will bring.”1 This paper presents the efforts of the School of Engineering at Virginia CommonwealthUniversity to develop a system to shorten the time to degree in Engineering at the bachelor’slevel. Utilizing existing resources such as American Council on Education College Credit forMilitary Experience and the DANTES College Credit-by-Examination Programs the authors willprovide strategies to determine equivalencies for courses in the first two years of the engineeringcurriculum. Schools and colleges of engineering must actively and aggressively look at theircurricula and find ways to make engineering more attractive to Post 9/11 Veterans.1. Serving Thos Who Serve: Higher Education and America’s Veterans, American Council on Education, Center for Lifelong Learning, Issue Brief, November 2008.

Adams, S., & Hobson, R. S. (2011, June), Soldier to Engineer: From the Battlefield to the Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18581

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