Enrollment and persistence of first-year students in a newly accredited engineering program

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3 Scopus citations


This paper examines the enrollment and persistence trends of first year students in recently accredited electrical and mechanical engineering programs at a predominantly undergraduateoriented non-research intensive university where the programs were created from existing technology programs. For the first six years of the programs, transcript information and student surveys for students enrolled in an introductory engineering course were analyzed. Quantitative analysis was performed on the levels of student interest and math preparedness upon enrollment in the introductory course, and within-program and within-university persistence was quantified and compared to math level and grade earned in the introductory course. Enrollment in the introductory course is growing at an acceptable rate. However, demographics are shifting towards students who are unprepared to complete Calculus I simultaneously with the introductory course. Furthermore, for the underprepared math students, persistence is very poor (10% of trigonometry and algebra students, 27% of Precalculus students), but for students ontrack in math, persistence is much better (28% of Calculus I students, 63% of post-Calculus I students). Lastly, a Precalculus co-requisite with the introductory course may reduce enrollment by 18%, but should only reduce number of majors by 5% or less. Until now, the programs have relied on a convenience sample of students with minimal program promotion or recruitment. However, focus should be directed at recruiting and retaining students who are prepared to enroll in Calculus, or at least Pre-calculus. Results of this study may be informative for universities looking to begin engineering programs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Conference119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX


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