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The Itasca CC Engineering Learning Community

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD XI: Assessing First-Year Programs, Experiences, and Communities

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

22.1475.1 - 22.1475.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18702

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

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Bart M. Johnson Itasca Community College

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Bart Johnson is an instructor of engineering and program coordinator at Itasca Community College in northern Minnesota. For the past seven years, he has taught physics, statics, dynamics, and solid modeling. Prior to Itasca, he was a design engineer in John Deere's Construction and Forestry Division.

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Ronald R. Ulseth Itasca Community College

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Ulseth is an instructor of engineering at Iron Range Engineering and Itasca Community College both in northern Minnesota. He is the co-developer of both programs. For the past 20 years, he has taught physics, statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics. He has successfully implemented engineering learning communities in first year programs. Recently, Ulseth began a new 100% project-based, industry-sponsored, engineering curriculum.

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Gordy Savela Itasca Community College

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Gordy Savela has taught community college chemistry for the past 17 years. He is currently in his 11th year teaching in the Engineering Department at Itasca Community College. He has presented at numerous local and regional conferences on various topics related to community college science instruction. In 2008, he was selected as Minnesota's recipient of the NEA's Teaching Excellence Award.

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Mason A. Hansen Itasca Community College

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Mason Hansen is an instructor of engineering at Itasca Community College in northern Minnesota. For the past three years, he has taught fluids, thermodynamics, professional development, physics, statics, dynamics, and solid modeling. Prior to Itasca, he was a nuclear power instructor for the U.S. Navy.

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Julie Kennedy, P.E. Itasca Community College

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Julie Kennedy is a part-time engineering instructor at Itasca Community College in northern Minnesota. She also continues to practice civil engineering for a local consulting firm. At the College, she specializes in teaching classes in the Engineering and Professional Development series.

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Abstract

The Engineering Learning Community at Itasca CCThe engineering program at Itasca Community College in northern Minnesota has developed avery successful engineering learning community. Students who start their engineering educationin Itasca’s engineering learning community average 8.7 semesters to completion of theirbachelor’s degree in engineering with a graduation rate of 54%.The Itasca learning community is an open admissions program with approximately 1/3 of thestudent body ready to start their math sequence with calculus 1, 1/3 with pre-calculus, and 1/3 ata math course below pre-calculus. Students who complete ICC’s engineering program thentransfer to 4-year institutions across the nation to complete their STEM degree. The program hasgrown from 10 students in 1993 to 150 students in 2010.Some of the key characteristics of the engineering learning community at Itasca CommunityCollege are:* Strong K-12 Relationships – Itasca Community College has strong relationships with theregional K-12 schools to promote student interest in engineering. Examples of activities includeelementary school renewable energy activities, Women in Engineering Day, Engineering Day atItasca, JETS competition at Itasca, regional FIRST robotics training and practice competitions atItasca, Itasca faculty mentoring high school Project Lead the Way teachers, etc.* Block Scheduling – Itasca’s engineering courses are taught in a "two-at-a-time" 8 week blockclass format instead of the traditional 16 week semester format. This alternative coursescheduling method is successful in providing students the ability to navigate through the pre-calculus and calculus sequences at different paces than in a traditional schedule yet have theability to complete their engineering degree in four years.* Program Assessment – Itasca engineering has developed an annual program assessment tool toprovide feedback on student learning that utilizes an annual “FE” type comprehensive exam toassess the student learning in program courses and a student portfolio to demonstrate theirattainment of the programs “ABET-based” learning outcomes at the end of their second year.* Learning Community – Itasca has developed a very strong learning community where studentsand faculty develop strong working relationships that enhance the student learning in the classroom and improve student retention rates.The authors will present a detailed description of the learning community at Itasca CC andcompare the success of Itasca students with student from other institutions across the U.S.The wider application of the Itasca Engineering learning community model is a model that istransferrable to other institutions and can serve to increase the number of students in the U.S.who are completing an engineering degree. The model can be fully adopted or components ofthe model can be used to build or improve the learning community at other institutions.Keywords Section: K-12 Relationships, Learning Community, Program Level AssessmentMethods, Block Scheduling, Alternative Course Scheduling

Johnson, B. M., & Ulseth, R. R., & Savela, G., & Hansen, M. A., & P.E., J. K. (2011, June), The Itasca CC Engineering Learning Community Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18702

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