June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Two Year College Division
12.1449.1 - 12.1449.6
The Need for a Quality Control System for Community College Engineering Education
This paper is based on a collaborative effort between the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council, with support from the National Science Foundation that was initiated to improve engineering education at community colleges and improve the prospects for community college students’ achievement of Bachelors Degrees in Engineering at four-year institutions. The paper attempts to establish some basic ground rules for building a quality control assessment system and creating active partnerships between Community Colleges and the four-year Universities with an ongoing dialog. This effort is also directed at building a unified approach for attracting and retaining students in engineering and to articulate a seamless engineering curriculum for a continuum of education that will fortify engineering education for the new millennium.
It is generally accepted that engineers are essential to both the public and private sectors in order to maintain a strong economy, and that it is in the national interest to vigorously pursue the development of a competent and diverse domestic workforce in science, engineering, and technology. If the United States is to remain competitive in a global, technology-based economy, there will need to be a concentrated effort to convince more students to prepare for careers in engineering and technology and to provide them with a high quality education.
It is estimated that 40% of engineering graduates in the U.S. attended a community college during their studies, and half of these graduates began their academic studies at a community college1. Other studies indicate that some underrepresented groups are more likely to begin their college studies at a community college than at a four year institution. Students who study engineering at a community college represent only a very small fraction of the total community college enrollment, and like the general public, a large part of this student population seems to be unaware of the opportunities a career in engineering offers. This suggests that there may be a large reservoir of students at the community college level that could be attracted to the Engineering Profession to meet anticipated shortages and diversity goals.
Community colleges generally provide good quality, affordable, and easily accessible educational programs in a wide variety of disciplines2,3. If we are to fulfill the growing need for students to receive a strong basic education in science, technology, engineering, and math, these institutions must play a larger role in the preparation of STEM graduates. However, these institutions also face serious challenges in offering comprehensive engineering programs due to the rapid evolution of Bachelor’s degree programs, the availability of qualified faculty, and the ability to provide adequate resources for students and faculty. In many cases, the process of obtaining guidance, assistance, and cooperation from local and regional four-year Universities is another challenge.
Dimitriu, D., & O'Connor, J. (2007, June), The Need For A Quality Control System For Community College Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1602
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