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Using A Project To Link Introduction To Engineering, Freshman Composition, And Pre Calculus For Entering Engineering Students

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.603.1 - 3.603.14

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Paper Authors

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Walter W. Fisher

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Carol Crowley

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Connie Kubo Della-Piana

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

Session 3253

Using a Project to Link Introduction to Engineering, Freshman Composition, and Pre-Calculus for Entering Engineering Students

Walter W. Fisher, Connie Kubo Della-Piana, Carol Crowley University of Texas at El Paso


The University

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is a comprehensive public urban institution. As a mid-size, commuter campus located in the world’s largest binational metropolitan center, the University of Texas at El Paso is recognized as one of the nation's most successful educators of Hispanic students. Over 60 percent of its approximately 15,000 students are under-represented minorities; an estimated two-thirds of them are the first in their families to attend college.

In the last two decades, UTEP has developed and sustained major institutional change initiatives and curricular reform to meet the needs of the region's students. The driving force has been and continues to be the development of institutional structures and processes that increase the involvement of students who are less-affluent, work outside the university, have substantial family obligations, and/or are less prepared for college than students who attend small private residential colleges. UTEP is committed to recruiting and educating the region's students and helping them compete successfully on a global scale. As a consequence, it has become the only major urban university in the Southwest whose student body matches the demographics of the region it serves.

UTEP's Evolving Cluster Program

Based on its record of dedication to and success in serving historically under-represented populations, the National Science Foundation awarded the University of Texas at El Paso a Model Institutions for Excellence (MIE) grant. The MIE initiative is a groundbreaking program that supports colleges and universities in their efforts to become models for improving the quantity and quality of science, engineering, and mathematics (SEM) graduates.

A major element in UTEP's design and implementation of its model has involved the development and establishment of the “cluster” program or powerful learning communities for the benefit of beginning SEM students who are not calculus ready, and therefore, not qualified to begin the standard engineering or science undergraduate programs. “Clustering” involves placing students in cohorts and scheduling them to attend the same blocked and linked courses that integrate subject matter across courses. Each "cluster" of courses includes (1) either Introduction to Engineering and Physical Science or Introduction to Biology, (2) a module-based class in pre- calculus, and (3) a first-year English composition class designed to integrate English with


Fisher, W. W., & Crowley, C., & Della-Piana, C. K. (1998, June), Using A Project To Link Introduction To Engineering, Freshman Composition, And Pre Calculus For Entering Engineering Students Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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