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The Alchemy Of Helping Freshmen Turn Dreams Into Reality

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

How We Teach Problem Solving?

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1227.1 - 9.1227.9



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Paper Authors

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Amy Miller

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Maher Murad

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Robert Martinazzi

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

Session 3553

The Alchemy of Helping Freshmen Turn Dreams into Reality

Amy Miller Maher Murad Robert Martinazzi The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


Freshmen bring with them a multitude of habits based upon their high school experience. Freshmen seldom question the transferability of learned habits and assume they will apply equally well to the university environment. Consequently, the “Ready, Fire, Aim” philosophy best describes the student’s mentality as they embark on the academic rigors of college life.

This paper describes an “Academic Resolution Exercise” instituted in the Freshman Engineering Technology seminar. It is specifically designed to teach freshmen how to establish, monitor and accomplish academic goals essential for them to successfully transition to the significant academic demands of a higher education institution. Ultimately, the results of this exercise enhance the probability of students succeeding academically in their critical first year. Their success, in turn, assists the university’s student retention rate.


Freshmen are often ill prepared for the scholastic demands of an engineering or engineering technology program. They frequently learn the hard way that the study habits and techniques used successfully in high school are insufficient in the demanding college atmosphere. In addition, for many, it is the first time that they are managing their time and responsibilities without the aid of their parents.

In business and industry, setting and charting goals has long been recognized as an effective business practice. According to Jeffery Mayer, author of Setting and Achieving Your Goals, “When you know what you want, and have created a plan to get you there, everything else falls into place.”(1) It is always advantageous for students to learn what will be expected of them in industry.

Suggested in the paper is a method that empowers professors to have an influence on the habits of freshmen. Freshmen will be expected to set goals, assess their progress, and hold themselves and their team members accountable. The process required to implement the given method will teach students some of the fundamentals of project management such as setting specific, realistic, and measurable goals.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Educators

Miller, A., & Murad, M., & Martinazzi, R. (2004, June), The Alchemy Of Helping Freshmen Turn Dreams Into Reality Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14105

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