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The Need For A Quality Control System For Community College Engineering Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Two year Colleges

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1449.1 - 12.1449.6



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Paper Authors


Dan Dimitriu San Antonio College

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DAN G. DIMITRIU has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses concurrently for over 20 years. He has been involved with several engineering societies and was elected vice-chair of the Two-Year College Division of ASEE in 2005. He has been the coordinator of the Engineering Program at San Antonio College since 2001. His research interests are: alternative fuels, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education.

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Jerry O'Connor San Antonio College

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JERRY ⁏CONNOR has been teaching physics (and a few engineering courses) at San Antonio College since 1987.
He was the Campus Coordinator for the Texas Alliance for Minority Participation program from 1993 to 2002,
and is currently the Department Chairperson for Physics, Engineering, & Architecture. He has been involved in numerous initiatives to integrate the findings of physics and engineering education research with education practice.

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

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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015