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University Studies of Student Persistence in Engineering

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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

Retention of Women Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1401.1 - 25.1401.15



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Paper Authors

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Gretchen L. Hein Michigan Technological University

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Kaitlyn J. Bunker


Nilufer Onder Michigan Technological University

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Nilufer Onder is an Associate Professor of computer science at Michigan Technological University. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research areas are artificial intelligence planning systems and decision making under uncertainty. Her webpage can be found via

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Raven Rachaun Rebb

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Laura E. Brown Michigan Technological University


Leonard J. Bohmann Michigan Technological University

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Leonard J. Bohmann received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Dayton in 1983, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1986 and 1989, respectively. After graduating, he accepted a faculty position at Michigan Tech in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Bohmann was appointed interim chair of the Department for the 2007-08 academic year, and, in 2007, he was also appointed to his present position of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within the College of Engineering. He is an ASEE member and participates in the Electrical and Computer Engineering, Energy Conversion and Conservation, Computers in Education, and Educational Research and Methods divisions. He is the past Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Division.

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University Studies of Student Persistence in EngineeringIn Spring 2011, engineering students at a Midwestern university were surveyed with respect topersistence in their major. The survey was designed to investigate the aspects of persistence andthe reasons behind switching majors. This paper extends the analysis to include an independentstudy that was conducted in 2009. This study was an academic climate survey with the intent ofproviding university benchmarks for improvement. The two surveys overlap on questionsregarding perception of professors (within the classroom and their personal treatment ofstudents), perception of unfair treatment with respect to gender and ethnicity/race, the contactsand interactions with fellow students, and the students’ perceptions of the field of engineering.This work analyzes the two data sets individually and collectively to determine what impactsstudent persistence (including factors such as major, gender, student-student and student-facultyinteractions, and career opportunities). The results are analyzed to show possible ways to changethe university climate and to improve retention.

Hein, G. L., & Bunker, K. J., & Onder, N., & Rebb, R. R., & Brown, L. E., & Bohmann, L. J. (2012, June), University Studies of Student Persistence in Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22158

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