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Teaching a College-wide Introductory Engineering Course Within a Freshman-year Experience

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

First-year Programs Division Technical Session 11: Curricular and Program Innovations

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1461.1 - 26.1461.11



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Paper Authors


Rolfe Josef 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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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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Teaching a College Wide Introductory Engineering Course within a Freshmen Year ExperienceFreshmen student retention and persistence to graduation are critical issues facing mostengineering institutions today. In response to this important concern, our college has initiated aFreshmen Year Experience (FYE) that replaces each department’s individual introductoryengineering course with a single course, ENGR 100. This course is taken by all freshmenengineers in the college regardless of their major designation. The goal of the FYE and ENGR100 is to increase student retention and persistence to the upper division and ultimately tograduation.The FYE is much more than just a simple introductory engineering course. The FYE integratesthe freshmen’s English, Math, and Physics courses with their ENG 100 exercises. It utilizes peermentors to guide the freshmen through lab exercises and assist them with homework and otherclass assignments. It also incorporates summer internships, cooperative learning, extra-curricularprojects, design competitions and undergraduate research to engage the freshmen into theirsophomore year.In this paper we discuss the ENGR 100 instructional approach and look at the issues andchallenges of integrating course outcomes from the original six departmental introductoryengineering courses. We look at the instructional methods and logistics involved in teaching 238students with six sections and six instructors from five departments. We discuss tactics forsuccessfully integrating the student’s English, Math, and Physics learning objectives into theFYE. Strategies for working with these departments outside of the engineering college arepresented. Likewise, we share course design strategies that engage students and build interest inthe engineering profession. The authors investigate how teaching students across all of thecollege’s engineering majors results in better interdisciplinary team building skills and providesthem with a better sense of ‘belonging’ in the engineering school.

Sassenfeld, R. J., & Tapia, J. R. (2015, June), Teaching a College-wide Introductory Engineering Course Within a Freshman-year Experience Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24798

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