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Student Success through College of Engineering Freshman Year Experience Program

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5A: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


John Ross Tapia New Mexico State University

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John Ross Tapia has a focus on student engagement and success for all students in their coursework. John Ross is an assistant professor with the Engineering Technology Department at New Mexico State University. He teaches Civil Engineering Technology courses and is the faculty lead for the Freshman Year Experience/ENGR100 course. His research focus is engineering education. Prior to working at NMSU, John worked at New Mexico’s first Early College High school and helped develop the curriculum for their STEM program, he also has 14 years’ experience in the Civil Engineering Industry. John Ross has a BS in Civil Engineering, and a MA in Agriculture and Extension Education with an emphasis in technology, both from New Mexico State University.

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Elizabeth Ann Howard New Mexico State University

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Elizabeth Howard serves as the Program Manager for the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. Elizabeth is currently serving as the program coordinator for the Freshman Year Experience program at NMSU which includes hiring and managing the college mentors, and overall coordination of the program. Elizabeth has worked in the College of Engineering for the past 4 years in student affairs.

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Rolfe Sassenfeld New Mexico State University

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Dr. Rolfe Sassenfeld, son of German Rocket Scientist Dr. Helmut Sassenfeld, earned his Doctoral degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas, El Paso. He has worked in higher education for 25 years as a Director of Instructional Technology, Computer Science Faculty, and Research Assistant Professor. He is presently an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of the Electronics and Computer Engineering program in the Engineering Technology department of New Mexico State University. His research focus is developing and teaching Android App development to engineers and entrepreneurs with innovative tools that can be utilized by programming novices. He is also an instructor and course developer for his college's Freshmen Year Experience.

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Student Success through College of Engineering Freshman Year Experience Program This is an evidence-based practice paper and will focus on the Freshman Year Experience (FYE) implemented at a Hispanic serving institution. Due to the retention rate for first-year full time engineering students prior to the school year of 2014-2015 of 63.9% (persistence from matriculation to their sophomore year) the College of Engineering made a decision to implement a FYE program. The program was designed to help retain students in the COE, and in addition provide student strategies to succeed in college. The college first-year student retention rate rose by 14.6% to a total of 78.5% from freshman to their sophomore year. The overarching goals for the program were to help facilitate the transition from high school to University learning environments. The program implemented problem based learning, flipped classroom instruction, discovery of student resources on campus, among other FYE and engineering curriculum strategies. Through coordination with the English department we aimed at a comprehensive approach to intertwine the introductory English and Engineering course curriculums. In addition, all students who enrolled in the Introduction to Engineering (ENGR 100) enrolled in an engineering student only English course focused solely on engineering writing. During the first year, the program implemented an ENGR 100 course and freshman year experience to aide students in their freshman year. Throughout the first semester of implementation, the ENGR 100 course was instructed by seven different professors in seven sections including four department heads. After assessing each course, it was discovered that some sections did not follow the same curriculum, making it difficult to assess the varied objectives. The COE implemented a program manager to help oversee the program and lead instructor who develops the curriculum, course objectives, and student success strategies. Currently, there are 12 sections being taught by 3 faculty, and 6 graduate students. Starting fall 2015 the course objectives will be assessed by each section, since all sections follow the same curriculum we will be able to analyze outcomes for the entire ENGR 100 cohort. Our assessment will entail student and instructor surveys based on the FYE and ENGR 100 learning outcomes. The data will provide us with the ability to make comparisons to determine what is helping/not helping the student’s success to persist in the COE. After reviewing the results we will be able to reflect and research other strategies that can be later implemented to assist in student success. The ENGR 100 course has made several key changes since the first semester of its implementation in the fall 2014. Some of these modifications include changing the mathematics co-requisite course to college algebra in order to reach more students. We have also implemented a mandatory workshop for all students, which is guided by their peer mentors. Peer mentors provide the students with an upper classman peer who can provide support inside and outside of the classroom. In our paper we will continue to discuss specifics regarding the ENGR 100 course, peer mentoring, intervention strategies, and FYE components.

Tapia, J. R., & Howard, E. A., & Sassenfeld, R. (2016, June), Student Success through College of Engineering Freshman Year Experience Program Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25930

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