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Using Collaborative Pedagogy to Recruit Technology Students from First-year 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

Recruitment and Retention Matters in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1421.1 - 25.1421.13



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Paper Authors


Brian P. DeJong Central Michigan University

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Brian P. DeJong is an Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology at Central Michigan University (CMICH), winner of CMICH’s 2010 College of Science & Technology Outstanding Teaching Award. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University in 2007. His research interests include auditory occupancy grids, teleoperation interfaces, lower-limb exercise robots, and engineering education.

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Dru M. Wilson Wilson Central Michigan University

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Dru M. Wilson is an Associate Professor at Central Michigan University in the School of Engineering and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in industrial education and technology from Iowa State University in 1998. His research interests include alternative methods of recycling thermosetting composite materials, prototype manufacturing, and plastics technology education.

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Recruiting Technology Students from First-Year Engineering via Collaboration and PedagogyStudent recruitment and persistence are important for any technology-degree department.Enrollment has decreased in many technology-related programs, and students are often confusedabout the differences between engineering and technology fields. Such was the case at aMidwestern university with engineering, engineering technology (ET), and technology programs.The enrollment in ET and technology programs was declining while enrollment in the first-yearengineering course was increasing rapidly. However, most of the freshmen engineering studentswere not persisting into any of the programs, often because of student misconceptions orunpreparedness. This paper discusses the successful, significant recruitment of engineeringtechnology and technology students from a first-year engineering course via collaborativeteaching and purposeful pedagogy improvement.To better recruit and retain technology students, the freshmen engineering course was improvedin two ways. First, when talking about the engineering profession, the professors increasedemphasis on the spectrum of engineering- and technology-related degrees. Second, a technologyprofessor joined the first-year-course teaching team. The course is now team-taught bymechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and technology professors in round-robin format,so that students receive a variety of teachers and make contacts in multiple programs.Data were collected for six years, before and after the pedagogy change, in three forms: studenttranscripts, number of majors, and in-class surveys. Transcript data include semesters ofenrollment and graduation, grades in math courses taken before and during the first-year course,first-year engineering course grade, grades in subsequent engineering or technology courses, andcurrent grade-point-average. The number of majors for each program was also collected for eachyear. In addition, surveys were given at the start and end of semesters asking the students to ranktheir intended majors, and describe why they switched (if applicable).Statistical results show that the collaborative pedagogy change has increased student enrollmentin the technology programs without negatively impacting the enrollment in the engineeringprograms. Recruitment of technology students from the course has increased by at least 69%.Surveys show that previously many students switched intended majors from engineering to thesciences; now (if they switch) they switch to technology majors. The new technology recruitshave reversed the downward trend of ET majors – in fact, the number of ET majors has doubledin the last year. The recruited students are from all math levels, and grade received in the first-year engineering course is not an indicator of technology recruitment.Developing positive and professional relationships between faculty members across engineeringand technology disciplines can be implemented at similar universities to help recruit (and retain)technology-interested students. By exposing students to the spectrum of engineering andtechnology, and by creating contacts within each program, students are more likely to find adegree of their liking and be comfortable switching to that program.

DeJong, B. P., & Wilson, D. M. (2012, June), Using Collaborative Pedagogy to Recruit Technology Students from First-year Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22178

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