Asee peer logo

The Freshman Engineering Experience At West Virginia University

Download Paper |


1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.523.1 - 4.523.6

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Scott Wayne

author page

Alfred Stiller

author page

Kristine Craven

Download Paper |

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

Session 2353

The Freshman Engineering Experience At West Virginia University

Kristine Craven, Scott Wayne, and Al Stiller West Virginia University


The freshman year of most engineering programs is confounded with mathematics and chemistry courses. The students are rarely in contact with actual engineering situations. Therefore, students in the College of Engineering do not develop an understanding of the engineering profession during their freshman year. Since most students entering the university have unsophisticated backgrounds, it is felt that introducing rigorous design projects at this early stage in their careers is not effective. Many freshman engineering programs consist of a one hour course where the student gets only a superficial exposure to the various engineering disciplines taught at that university. At West Virginia University, our freshman students are required to complete two, three-hour freshman engineering design courses which are modeled after the traditional Guided Design concept developed by Dr. Charles Wales 1,2. The primary focus of the courses is on the engineering problem solving method with added emphasis on computer software usage and computer language programming.

Freshman engineering courses can serve a multitude of important functions including the development of good study skills and academic survival strategies, orientation to the engineering disciplines, and the development of team working skills. The primary goals of freshman courses at West Virginia University are to develop problem solving and decision making skills and to develop skills in oral, written and mathematical communication. The Freshman Engineering Program recently implemented a number of changes both in and out of the classroom. A Live and Learn Program was developed in which students live on the same floor of the residence hall and attend classes together. Based on the success of this program, it has been expanded into a university wide program. Social events and seminar presentations are organized to enhance the students contact with the College of Engineering and to introduce students to the engineering disciplines. Preliminary evaluations indicate an increase in retention of students within the engineering programs from 66% to 75% 3.


As with many engineering programs, the first year at West Virginia University is spent building the science and mathematics background needed for a successful career in any engineering field. Unfortunately, this may mean that the engineering students have little or no contact with the faculty and facilities of the College of Engineering. At West Virginia freshman students become involved in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources by including in the curriculum two freshman engineering courses. Each is a three-hour course and they are taken sequentially during the first year. These courses include many important and exciting programs 4 that aid

Wayne, S., & Stiller, A., & Craven, K. (1999, June), The Freshman Engineering Experience At West Virginia University Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1999 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015