June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.1188.1 - 10.1188.23
Survey of First-Year Programs Kenneth P. Brannan, Phillip C. Wankat The Citadel/Purdue University
Abstract To assess the current status of first year programs, two surveys of first year programs in engineering were circulated through the ASEE Freshman Programs Division (FPD) listserv. The first survey was sponsored by the FPD, and the second survey was sponsored by the NAE Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE). Participation in the surveys involved 91 institutions in the FPD survey and 49 institutions in the CASEE survey.
The FPD survey focused on program structure, staffing, and how advising and tutoring is accomplished. Of the participating institutions, approximately two-thirds of the institutions were about evenly grouped in one of four categories: programs conducted by a formally recognized department or division, by someone on the dean’s staff, by a responsible faculty member or group of faculty members in addition to their teaching or research duties, and programs conducted in individual engineering disciplines. The remainder of the programs had unique features that did not neatly correspond with one of the other categories. The paper also presents survey data on how faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and others are used in teaching, advising, and tutoring; advising services and how these are handled; and availability and administration of tutoring services.
The CASEE survey focused on the content of the curriculum and the teaching methods. An estimated 20% of the entering students were not ready to study engineering (range 0 to 90%). The overwhelming weakness reported was mathematics. Twelve institutions reported some effort to integrate courses and one institution reported all courses were integrated. Honors programs of some sort were conducted by 67% and bridge and/or retention programs by 88%. The curriculum appears to be fairly standardized. Only the engineering courses had extensive professional activities such as socially relevant examples, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, and teamwork. Most of the engineering design courses include hands-on projects.
Data from the combined surveys provide a broad picture of the current status of first-year engineering programs. Survey results should serve as a valuable reference for engineering educators who are establishing, modifying, or evaluating a first-year program.
Introduction Over the past few decades, first-year programs have been enhanced in numerous ways to improve academic performance, stimulate interest and improve retention, help students make a successful transition from high school to college, update the content coverage, and better prepare students for future coursework. These enhancements include development of motivational first- year courses, student assistance programs inside the classroom including the use of various active learning methods, and student assistance programs outside the classroom. Both traditional and non-traditional advising and tutoring would be included in the student assistance categories. Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
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