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The Influence of Program Concentrations on Enrollment and Placement

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computation Related

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


David R. Mikesell Ohio Northern University

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David R. Mikesell is chair and professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio Northern University. His research interests are in land vehicle dynamics, autonomous vehicles, and robotics. His background includes work in automotive engineering at Ohio State (PhD), six years designing automated assembly machines and metal-cutting tools for Grob Systems, and four years service as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He holds bachelor degrees in German (Duke) and Mechanical Engineering (ONU).

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John-David S. Yoder Ohio Northern University

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John-David (J-D) Yoder is Dean and Professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH. He has worked as Proposal Engineer and Proposal Engineering Supervisor at Grob System, Inc. He has held a number of leadership and advisory positions in various entrepreneurial ventures. He received his degrees (B.S., M.S, and Ph.D.) in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He has been active in KEEN (Kern Entrepreneurial Education Network) Fellow, and has served as a Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA and an Invited Professor at INRIA Rhone-Alpes, Monbonnot, France. Research interests include computer vision, mobile robotics, intelligent vehicles, entrepreneurship, and education.

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In many schools, students are able to tailor their undergraduate engineering coursework to emphasize a particular specialty field. When organized by the university, such an emphasis within the context of a major is often called an academic “concentration.” Universities with a smaller array of majors in specialty engineering disciplines can employ concentrations to foster student success in a given field and attract students who are already interested in such a specialty, if it is not available as a major. Concentrations can generally be offered with relatively low cost, because the specialty coursework often comprises electives already taught in the program. Using survey and graduation data from a small private engineering college in the Midwest, this paper examines the strength of concentrations’ recruiting appeal against the cost to maintain them, the change in student interest over time, and the impact on post-graduation placement for students who complete the concentration.

Mikesell, D. R., & Yoder, J. S. (2021, July), The Influence of Program Concentrations on Enrollment and Placement Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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