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The Dismantling of the Engineering Education Pipeline

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Two Year-to-Four Year Transfer Topics Part I

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1443.1 - 22.1443.17



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Paper Authors


Erik N. Dunmire College of Marin

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Erik Dunmire is a professor of engineering and chemistry at College of Marin. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of California, Davis.

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Amelito G. Enriquez Canada College Orcid 16x16

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Amelito Enriquez is a Professor of engineering and mathematics at Canada College. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include technology-enhanced instruction and increasing the representation of female, minority and other underrepresented groups in mathematics, science and engineering.

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Kate A. Disney Mission College, Santa Clara

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Engineering Faculty

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The Dismantling of the Engineering Education Pipeline Amelito Enriquez, Kate Disney, Erik Dunmire Cañada College, Redwood City, CA / Mission College, Santa Clara, CA / College of Marin, Kentfield, CAAbstractCommunity colleges play a critical role in helping to produce engineers that are urgently neededin order to maintain America’s global technological competitiveness. Community colleges serveas an important pipeline for large numbers of ethnically diverse transfer students who pursueengineering degrees in four-year institutions. A few states, such as Maryland and California,have launched broad efforts to make the transfer process easier for these students. Recentdevelopments, however, have threatened the viability of engineering programs in CaliforniaCommunity Colleges, endangering this very important pipeline in the engineering educationalsystem. The increasing divergence of the lower-division requirements among different four-yearinstitutions and among the different fields of engineering has led to the erosion of what used tobe a standard set of core engineering courses (graphics, statics, properties of materials, circuits,programming) that were required by all engineering programs. Additionally, the recent budgetcrisis has forced many community colleges to cancel low-enrollment classes and high-costprograms including those in engineering. This paper addresses the factors that have led to thegradual erosion of the lower-division core curriculum and the effects that these curriculumchanges have had on community college engineering programs. It also explores the implicationson the future of the engineering education system, the cost to taxpayers, and the system’seffectiveness at producing the engineers that are needed to ensure that the United States remainsthe premier place in the world for innovation.

Dunmire, E. N., & Enriquez, A. G., & Disney, K. A. (2011, June), The Dismantling of the Engineering Education Pipeline Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18945

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