Academic and Social Integration Variables Influencing the Success of Community College Transfer Students in Undergraduate Engineering Programs

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Laugerman, Marcia
Major Professor
Steven K. Mickelson
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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The goal of this dissertation is to collect and analyze data to determine success strategies for community college (CC) transfers to engineering. It does so by analyzing transcript level data collected longitudinally over a 10-year period as community college transfer students' progress before and after transfer into an engineering program. Characteristics of successful students are identified in terms of the academic and social integration variables using descriptive and inferential statistics. In addition to providing data analysis, the results determine distinctive strategies to increase the success of community college transfers in engineering.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Talent Expansion Program initiative. Recognizing the importance of increasing the number of graduates in STEM fields, the NSF has funded the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP).

This research discovers high-influence academic variables that a CC transfer student can use to aid in successfully pursuing an engineering degree. This research makes a strong case that even small increases in GPA have significant effects on increasing the graduation rates in engineering. A notable finding is the recommended thresholds of success for the academic variables.

This study finds that for CC transfer students to have the best chances of graduating with an engineering degree, they need to adopt the social integration strategies offered at the CC, join a learning community at the university, and focus on being successful in the core engineering courses, either at the CC or at the university.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012