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Understanding the Path of Engineering and Computer Science Upper Division Transfer Students to a Large University

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Undergraduate Recruitment

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1398.1 - 25.1398.14



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Paper Authors


Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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Mary Anderson-Rowland is the PI of an NSF STEP grant to work with five
non-metropolitan community colleges to produce more engineers, especially female and underrepresented minority engineers. She also directs two academic scholarship programs, including one for transfer students. An Associate Professor in computing, informatics, and systems design engineering, she was the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU from 1993-2004. Anderson-Rowland was named a top 5% teacher in the Fulton Schools of Engineering for 2009-2010. She received the WEPAN Engineering Educator Award 2009, ASEE Minorities Award 2006, the SHPE Educator of the Year 2005, and the National Engineering Award in 2003, the highest honor given by AAES. In 2002, she was named the Distinguished Engineering Educator by the Society of Women Engineers. She has more than 175 publications, primarily in the areas of recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minority engineering and computer science students. Her awards are based on her mentoring of students, especially transfer, women, and underrepresented minority students, and her research in the areas of recruitment and retention. A SWE and ASEE Fellow, she is a frequent speaker on career opportunities, enhancing the transfer student experience, and diversity in engineering.

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Understanding the Path of Engineering and Computer Science Upper Division Transfer Students to a Large UniversityAs efforts continue to help the nation’s competitive edge by strengthening the US engineeringworkforce, more attention is being focused on community colleges. As tuition rates soar, manycapable students choose to spend their first two years of post-secondary education at acommunity college. The community college offers small classes, lower tuition, and a shortcommute from home to save money on housing. A larger proportion of women andunderrepresented minority students attend two-year colleges than four-year colleges.The transfer and acclimation process for these students to a larger four-year school is verycrucial in their successful graduation with an engineering or computer science Bachelor’s degree.A successful academic scholarship retention program for transfer students have been in existenceat a major university for nine years. This program has been continuously evaluated to helpensure that the best practices are being used to encourage and to support transfer students.In this study, 61engineering and computer science transfer students taking an Academic SuccessClass, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, are surveyed to determine why and whenthey decided to go to two-year college, when they decided on their major, and when they decidedthat they would transfer to a four-year school. The average age of the students is 24.5 years.Over 60% of the transfer students knew “from the beginning” that they would attend a four-yearcollege. However, 21% did not know until they had attended a community college for up tothree years that they would go to a four-year college. Only one-third of the transfer studentsknew that engineering or computer science would be their major before they attended acommunity college.These late decisions mean that it is very important for four year schools to reach out tocommunity colleges to encourage their students to go to a four-year school and to considerengineering and computer science as a major.In this study, 62.3% of the students are female or minority. The experiences of the women arecompared with those of the men and underrepresented minority students are compared with non-minority students.

Anderson-Rowland, M. R. (2012, June), Understanding the Path of Engineering and Computer Science Upper Division Transfer Students to a Large University Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22155

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