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Publication Date

June 2011

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

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Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Engineering | Engineering Education


With nearly 5,000 students, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering (CoE) at San José State University (SJSU) is the largest provider of engineers to Silicon Valley companies and is ranked 12th among engineering programs for master’s-level institutions in the 2009 U.S. News &World Report's listing of "America’s Best Colleges. “Our overarching theoretical model for student retention is based on Tinto’s model. We adapted this model, based on additional research, to address the needs of students at SJSU. According to this model, effective and positive interactions in college should increase the student’s commitment and effort in college, and thereby, increase student retention. To increase student retention in engineering programs, CoE offers two first-year experience (FYE) courses and several co-curricular FYE programs. ENGR 8 (Engineering Success) facilitates changes in students’ behaviors and attitudes as they relate to the following areas: (1) orientation to college; (2) community building; (3) professional development; (4) academic development; and (5) personal development. ENGR 10 (Introduction to Engineering), is designed to allow students to explore engineering through hands-on design projects, case studies, and problem-solving using computers. Students learn about various aspects of the engineering profession and acquire both technical skills and non-technical skills, in areas such as communication, team work, and engineering ethics. The Community for Engineering Learning and Living (CELL) program makes building a strong support group easier for students by housing them together, where they immerse themselves in all aspects of engineering life and collaborate with peers studying in their same discipline. The Engineering Learning Community for Academic Success (ELCAS) program provides a supportive environment for engineering freshmen computer students through a cohort system. MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) Engineering Program (MEP) supports educationally disadvantaged and first-generation college students seeking degrees in engineering or computer science. This paper will discuss our continued efforts to increase retention and graduation rates. We will present the assessment of our FYE programs and discuss the integration of these efforts at our university.


© 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. This article originally appeared in the proceedings of the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference, and can also be found online at this link.
Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC.