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Student Chapters An Adjunct To Engineering Education

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Student Chapters - Formulas for Success

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1034.1 - 8.1034.14

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Paper Authors

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Russell Mills

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Tonya Emerson

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

Session 3215

Student Chapters – An Adjunct to Engineering Education

Tonya L. Emerson, Russell S. Mills

California State University, Chico


New engineering graduates are expected to possess an ever-expanding array of skills. Yet, classroom synthesis is not conducive to many of these proficiencies. Student professional societies can help cultivate valuable interpersonal, professional and technical skills through a variety of extracurricular activities.

The success of a student chapter can be as valuable as the curriculum in defining the quality of an engineering department. This success can be framed by the ability to: foster retention by building student camaraderie; develop leadership skills; and expand individual awareness of societal responsibility and personal empowerment. Chapter activities may enhance engineering principles, can involve students in complex projects requiring teamwork – from conceptualization to fruition, and provide interaction with professional contacts. These objectives can be realized through multiple means, including intercollegiate competitions, public outreach, and community service.

Building a thriving student chapter requires both investment and risk. Faculty advisors can use multiple techniques to help foster success, including identifying and encouraging strong student leaders and constructing a cooperative cohort of student peers. The faculty and student participants must also mitigate factors such as limited resources, personality conflicts, and the potential for undesirable behavior by some students.

These lessons are illustrated by two representative undertakings at CSU, Chico. During the 2002 fall semester, over 60% of the civil engineering majors voluntarily developed, funded, coordinated and conducted a celebration of the 150th anniversary of ASCE, centered around 1000 visitors from public schools. Also, over seven years, CSU, Chico has participated in the steel bridge competition, with varying degrees of success – from disqualification at the regional qualifier to a national title.


Membership in student professional clubs is an integral part Tell me and I will listen; of many engineering students’ university experience. Show me and I will watch; Through these clubs, students are presented with multiple Let me experience and I will learn. Lao-Tze, 550 B.C. opportunities to work in teams, improve communication skills, acquire leadership abilities and build strong

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

Mills, R., & Emerson, T. (2003, June), Student Chapters An Adjunct To Engineering Education Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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