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The Impact of Social Integration on Engineering Students' Persistence, Longitudinal, Interinstitutional Database Analysis.

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Retention and Persistence in Engineering

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1211.1 - 23.1211.16



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Paper Authors


Eric L Huerta-Manzanilla Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico-UNAM

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Eric L. Huerta is a Fulbright visiting researcher at the Multiple-Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development Lab at Purdue University. He received a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from the Mexico National Autonomous University, a M.S. degree in Quality Engineering from Queretaro University in Mexico, and is a Candidate for the Doctor of Engineering degree at the same University.
His research interests in engineering education in expertise acquisition and student’s persistence. In the application of engineering he is also working in the use of statistical models for problem solving in industry and for quantitative research of social aspects in the education of engineers.
Prior to joining the University of Queretaro, Mr. Huerta spent several years working in manufacturing, leading medium size manufacturing plants of automotive components and industrial goods. Coordinated the startup of two new plants in central Mexico and implemented lean manufacturing and advanced quality systems.
Mr. Huerta is member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society for Quality and the American Statistical Association. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and serves as consultant for medium and small technology based industrial firms.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Matthew W. Ohland is Professor of engineering education at Purdue University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by more than $12.4 million from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and his team received the William Elgin Wickenden Award for the Best Paper in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011. Ohland is Past Chair of ASEE’s Educational Research and Methods division and a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Education Society. He was the 2002-2006 President of Tau Beta Pi.

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Russell Andrew Long Purdue University, West Lafayette

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The Impact of Social Integration on First Time in College Engineering Students Persistence, Longitudinal, Interinstitutional Database Analysis. Persistence of engineering students was 51.5% from 1987 to 2010, based on a largemulti-institution dataset. Many approaches have been proposed to assess factors affectingpersistence. The main models on persistence are Tinto’s Theory of Student Departure, Astin’sTheory of Involvement in Higher Education and Pascarella’s General Model for AssessingChange. Tinto proposed that academic and social integration reinforce students’ commitment totheir institution and educational goals. Sociometric techniques from Social Network Theory arebeing adapted to develop measures of social integration among undergraduate students using alarge, multi-institution longitudinal dataset. This paper will introduce this approach and, inparticular, discuss the social network parameter “mutuality” and study its relationship topersistence in engineering. Mutuality is an index that assesses the tendency for individuals in agroup to reciprocate choices more frequently than would occur by chance. Subsets of students with the same major and starting years were sampled by institution.Unique institution-class-course identity codes were defined for section groups to establish whichstudents took classes in each other’s presence, and the mutuality index was evaluated for eachstudent cohort in a section group. Mutuality reflects reciprocity beyond random grouping, due tostudents having free selection of groups. A matrix of section groups and cohorts was built as abridge data structure to assess mutuality. A simplified mutuality algorithm was evaluated pereach cell in the matrix. A linear model for mutuality as predictor and persistence rate per cohortas the response was fit to subsets results. Two institutions with persistence rates of 73% and 44% were compared. Mutuality rateper group was  p 0.73  2.26% and  p 0.44  0.79% , respectively. Results suggest mutuality maybe related with persistence. Results for other institutions and subpopulations will be consideredin the final paper.Mutuality Distributions for Mechanical Engineers at two institutions. Institution A: Persistence rate 73%. Institution B: Persistence rate 44%.

Huerta-Manzanilla, E. L., & Ohland, M. W., & Long, R. A. (2013, June), The Impact of Social Integration on Engineering Students' Persistence, Longitudinal, Interinstitutional Database Analysis. Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22596

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