2022 First-Year Engineering Experience

Data And Stakeholder Driven Redesign of a First-Year Engineering Curriculum

Presented at Technical Session T1A

The first-year engineering experience has significant implications on both retention and overall student success. As institutions adjust first-year engineering programs to meet the needs of changing demographics and student expectations, various challenges arise to meet the needs of all stakeholder groups while providing a meaningful and high-value student experience. At the authors’ institution, a comprehensive redesign of a first-year engineering curricula, for 7 engineering programs, was developed over a 9-month period. The Task-force charged with the redesign drew on 5-years of institute data, stakeholder feedback, and an extensive literature review.

Through this work, the author identified various challenges that were caused by the original common first-year curricula. Institute data illustrated the impact of these challenges through their effect on program persistence and student success in subsequent years. In addition, the authors collected data from the following stakeholder groups: students, program faculty, laboratory technicians, admissions office, and administration. Stakeholder feedback indicated that there were both common and conflicting opinions on both the existing first-year program and desires for the redesign. This feedback provided additional challenges in the framing of the redesign since a priority was placed on gaining approval from all groups prior to implementing a new first-year engineering program.

In this paper, the authors present the first year of a multi-year study on the redesign of the first-year engineering program at the authors institution. In this initial work, the authors focus on the insight drawn from the institute data, stakeholder feedback, and literature review to frame the redesign of the first-year engineering program. Other institutions should benefit from the presentation of challenges caused by the original common first-year and from the impact of stakeholder feedback on framing the redesign.

  1. James R McCusker PhD Wentworth Institute of Technology [biography]
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