Exploring Early College Credit Implications for Engineering

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Zunkel, Karen
Pontius, Jason
Brumm, Thomas
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Brumm, Thomas
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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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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

In the past decade, increasing numbers of students are taking college credit courses while still in high school, through programs such as Advanced Placement or through agreements with the local community colleges. Recognizing this trend, an Iowa State University task force researched the impact that this early college credit (ECC) was having on both the student experience and the university. The study methodology included both quantitative and qualitative analyses, using student academic records, student surveys and focus groups, faculty focus groups, and review of institutional materials. This paper disaggregates institutional findings to compare the experiences of engineering and non-engineering students. Similar to nonengineering students, engineering students with ECC had higher one-year retention rates, took fewer credits their first semester of enrollment, graduated after eight semesters of enrollment and graduated in fewer semesters overall than did engineering students without ECC. However, there were differences in the experiences between engineering students and non-engineering students. Engineering students did not see an increase in GPA or graduation rates; and, they were more likely to repeat courses taken as ECC and to have their ECC courses not count toward their degree programs. Strategies to increase the effectiveness of ECC for engineering students could include offering of key entry-level engineering courses to students in high school, a review of the engineering curriculum for sequencing and flexibility, increased attention on issues of mathematics curriculum alignment with feeder institutions, and improved communication with high school students, parents and counselors.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013