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The Introductory Sequence For Chemical Engineering Students And Retention At Tri State University

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.630.1 - 5.630.10



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Paper Authors

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Majid Salim

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John E Wagner

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David R Finley

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

Session 2553 - 3

The Introductory Sequence for Chemical Engineering Students and Retention at Tri-State University

David R. Finley, John E. Wagner, Majid Salim Tri-State University


The introductory sequence for first-year chemical engineering students at Tri-State University consists of a series of two courses. These courses are designed to introduce the student to their chosen field of study. Computer packages such as MSWord and Excel, which are used throughout the curriculum, are utilized extensively. Most importantly, the student is introduced to the design process used to solve open-ended problems through a variety of “hands-on” and cooperative learning activities.

Introduction to Engineering is the first course in the sequence and is common for all first-year engineers, while Introduction to Chemical Engineering, the second course in this series, is directed toward students in this discipline. This paper presents a synopsis of these two courses, focusing on the latter. It specifically documents the content of these two courses and the positive impact these two courses have had on subsequent retention of students in the chemical engineering program.

I. Introduction

Tri-State University (TSU) is a private, undergraduate institution with a rich tradition of providing an affordable, “hands-on” engineering education. Located in Angola, Indiana, TSU is approximately 45 miles northeast of Ft. Wayne and 60 miles west of Toledo, Ohio. From its start in the late 1800's as a normal school, TSU has grown into a regional educational leader for the 21st century specializing in engineering, business, and education. Of the more than 1200 students on campus, roughly one-half are enrolled in the School of Engineering and Science (SOES).

Begun in 1909, the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department at TSU has remained a small undergraduate program with a focus on career-oriented higher education. Departmental enrollment currently stands at very nearly 60 students, having dipped as low as 37 in the late 1980s. With as few as 20-25 students entering the program each year, retention is a critical issue for the viability of the program in a primarily “tuition-driven” budgeting environment. To maximize contact with incoming students, the department took advantage of a recent (1998/1999) conversion from a quarter-based academic calendar to one based on semesters to evaluate and revise our entire curriculum.

The introductory course sequence for first-year (frosh) chemical engineers at Tri-State University consists of Introduction to Engineering and Introduction to Chemical Engineering.

Salim, M., & Wagner, J. E., & Finley, D. R. (2000, June), The Introductory Sequence For Chemical Engineering Students And Retention At Tri State University Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8517

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