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The Engineering Math Committee: A Successful Collaboration At University

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Integrating Math, Science, and Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1214.1 - 14.1214.13



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Evelyn Brown East Carolina University

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Heather Ries East Carolina University

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

The Engineering/Math Committee: A Successful Collaboration at East Carolina University

Evelyn C. Brown, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Engineering East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858

Heather L. Ries, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858

Abstract At most campuses in the United States with engineering programs, the engineering mathematics courses are taught by the mathematics department. Since many of these mathematics departments also teach Calculus, Differential Equations, and Statistics courses to students of all majors, it can be difficult to insure that the engineering students receive the specific course content they need. These generic mathematics courses often lack engineering examples that can help students understand how to later apply appropriate formulas in courses such as Statics, Dynamics, Circuits, and Strength of Materials.

At East Carolina University, we have established an Engineering/Math Committee. This committee is responsible for the development and implementation of specialized engineering sections of Calculus, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, and Statistics. The committee has also made great strides to improve the placement, retention, and success of engineering students at East Carolina University. Efforts of the committee have led to the inclusion of both direct and indirect measures of assessment of the engineering courses being conducted by the mathematics faculty.

This paper discusses the work of the Engineering/Math Committee at East Carolina University. It details steps taken in curriculum development, mathematics placement, and student retention and success. Anecdotal feedback as well as statistical analyses of student performance is presented as a means to track improvement of our students' mathematical skills. It also suggests how to implement a successful Engineering/Math Committee and provides a summary of the benefits that have resulted from the work of this committee at East Carolina University.

Introduction The Engineering Program at East Carolina University began in the fall of 2004. As a part of the initial curriculum, engineering students were required to take Calculus I (4 hours), Calculus II (4 hours), Statistics I (3 hours), and a course in Differential Equations and Linear Algebra (4 hours). All of these courses were taught by the Mathematics Department. Although a strong core of the initial class of engineering students performed well and continued with the program, the level of retention was below the expectations of the Engineering Department. Further investigation into students' reasons for leaving the program revealed that student retention had been impacted by lack of success in some of the mathematics courses. In an effort to increase retention and improve performance in mathematics courses, an Engineering/Math Committee (EMC) was established in the spring of 2007.

Brown, E., & Ries, H. (2009, June), The Engineering Math Committee: A Successful Collaboration At University Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5597

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