Overview of Thursday Opening Workshops


The Program begins Thursday morning with a series of highly interactive Workshop sessions - each topic area featured was selected for their timeliness and value related to first year engineering programs. The purpose of the workshops are to describe the main First Year Engineering focus areas that most attendees are connected with in their present position. The session will allow people to meet others that work in their area and share common discussion topics. The morning sessions will be followed by lunch where the Keynote luncheon speaker will summarize the concepts from the morning sessions. In the afternoon the conference will break into round table discussion groups that will continue with a number of invited interactive discussions that will continue the discussions started in the morning sessions.

The workshops will provide concentrated professional development and the range of topics offers opportunities for everyone from new faculty and staff members to the most experienced educators to expand their skills and knowledge. A list of the scheduled workshops is given below.


Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. – Noon

Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.



Thursday Workshop Information

Workshop A: Thursday 8:30 - 10:00 am 
Implementing the "Design Your Process of Becoming a World Class Engineering Student" Project
Room: 319 Benedum Hall

Steffen Peuker, University of Alaska Anchorage
Raymond B. Landis, California State University, Los Angeles

Many students come into an engineering program lacking a strong commitment to stay in an engineering program and to graduate with an engineering degree. For students to accomplish the challenging goal of graduating in engineering requires a strong commitment, and behaviors and attitudes to follow through that commitment. To strengthen the commitment of the freshman engineering students an innovative project has been developed. The project challenges students to develop their process to become a "World-Class Engineering Student". Having freshman engineering students design their individually tailored learning process as part of a semester long project in the setting of a student success focused introduction to engineering course or any freshman engineering course will have a significant impact on their academic success by improving the students' confidence and motivation to succeed in engineering. This workshop will show participants how to implement the "Design your Process to become a World-Class Engineering Student" into their own introduction to engineering courses.

Workshop B: Thursday 8:30 - 10:00 am 
Strategies to Enhance Engineering Education at Small Colleges
Room: 309 Benedum Hall

Benjamin R. Campbell, Robert Morris University

Engineering programs at small teaching colleges have challenges not faced by large research institutions. The strategies used by a school that has several hundred in a freshman class and dozens of engineering faculty don't necessarily translate well to a smaller program due to economies of scale and scarcity of resources. Likewise, there may be education methods that work better in a small program because of the inherent intimacy of a small class size and more direct contact with faculty. At the 2012 FYEE conference many of the presentations were from schools that had such large programs that even if the topic was of interest to a smaller school, the approach would difficult to implement.

This proposed workshop will provide a forum for small engineering program to share the challenges they face and methods for success they have developed. Topics could include:

  • How to involve students in research at a teaching university that lacks research funding and labs
  • Using small class sizes to build an engineering community
  • How to efficiently teach heavy course loads without teaching assistants
  • How to successfully partner with larger schools in mutually beneficial ways
  • How to develop niche offerings to build your school's reputation for recruitment and job placement
  • Where to find shared teaching resources and grants for smaller schools
  • How to encourage adjuncts to take a more active role with students
  • Developing low-cost lab activities to teach engineering skills
  • How the First Year Engineering Experience differs on a commuter or branch campus

Additional topics would be generated by the group based on specific concerns or best practices they want to share. A vote can be conducted to determine which topics will be discussed. The participants would then be broken into discussion groups and given one of the topics. They would be directed to better define the problem and propose solutions. After some time to work in small groups, everyone will come back together to present their problems and solutions to the large group.

Workshop C: Thursday 8:30 - 10:00 am 
Developing a Classification Scheme for "Introduction to Engineering" Courses
Room: 320 Benedum Hall

Kenneth Reid, Ohio Northern University
Tamara Knott, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Many Universities and Community Colleges offer a course entitled "Introduction to Engineering" or similar. These are often designed from scratch and tend to be "personal courses" - designed by instructors to cover what they feel is important. Therefore, while they may be prerequisites to second-year courses, first-year engineering programs are not necessarily integrated into the curriculum. Further, since they are often designed with little consideration for existing models, overall outcomes and content vary widely.

This leads to three issues: first, course developers often "reinvent the wheel" by failing to disseminate successful models. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of definition of first year models: a developer may know what they want in a course, but how do they find a course with similar outcomes with nothing more than "first-year engineering" as a description?

Second, with little focus on specification of models for these courses, many become a grab bag of unrelated topics.

Finally, there are issues preventing community colleges from offering "Introduction to Engineering" courses, leading to disadvantages for students who could transfer into 4-year programs. Without standard outcomes for a first-year course, students may receive credit for material that is much different than material they covered, and community colleges may not be able to design an introductory engineering course that is applicable to multiple institutions.

This session will invite those interested in developing a classification scheme for "Introduction to Engineering" courses. The goal of the session will be to catalog efforts underway toward the overall goal of developing a classification scheme and to create a community of practice to facilitate this development.

Workshop D: Thursday 8:30 - 10:00 am 
Planting the SEED for Success: Easing Transitions through Living & Learning Communities
Room: 318 Benedum Hall

Tamara Fuller, The University of Maryland- College Park

The object of this presentation is to inform the audience of practices used by the Successful Engineering Education and Development Support (SEEDS) Program at the Clark School of Engineering. Funded through the National Science Foundation, the SEEDS program offers several opportunities to impact success and create community for engineering students. Of these programs Flexus: The Dr. Marilyn Berman Pollans Women in Engineering Living & Learning Community and Virtus: A Living and Learning Community for Success in Engineering have proved particularly helpful in easing the transition for students into their first year of engineering course work. Flexus and Virtus provide 117 first and second year students access to engineering, gender based, living and learning environments. There are many components of Flexus and Virtus including: Summer Orientation, New Resident Orientation, Common Resident Hall, Mid-semester Advising, 1-credit Seminar & Course Clusters, and Summer Orientation.

During the session the presenter will outline the program components, shared current data and participants will discuss best practices and ways to establish/improve LLC efforts at any institution. The workshop will discuss the: New Resident Orientation (NRO), Common Resident Hall, Mid-semester Advising, Flexus & Virtus Early Warning Grades, 1-credit Seminar & Course Clusters. In addition to the aforementioned aspects, Flexus and Virtus also offers leadership experience through a student led executive counsel, research fellowships, and exposure to a variety of engineering related opportunities.

Finally the impact of these programs on student performance and retention will be discussed.


Focus Worshop: Thursday 10:30 - Noon 
What Makes a Successful First-Year Engineering Program
Room: University Club Ballroom B

Matt Ohland, Purdue University
Kerry Meyers, Youngstown State University

This workshop will present the elements of multiple successful but different First-Year Engineering programs including:

  • program structures / program types
  • content areas (computer programming, design, discipline specific projects, technical communication)
  • administration and logistics (teaching, grading, etc.)
  • advising

Workshop participants will be asked to share the aspects of First-Year Engineering programs that have been particularly successful (or unsuccessful) at their institutions. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to draft and present a First-Year Engineering Program Structure that would be possible at their institution.


Small Group Workshops: Thursday 2:00 - 3:30 pm 
RoundTable Small Group Discussion Workshops
Rooms: Benedum Hall Rooms 318, 319, 309, 320

Various discussion leaders

We anticipate that the attendees at this years conference will have job describations such as: Engineering student services staff; Minority engineering program staff; High school teachers and administrators; Community college engineering instructors; Communication skills specialists; Engineering faculty - Small 4-year institutions; Engineering faculty - Large 4-year institutions; Engineering education academic administrators; Intro to Engineering course instructors - Technical content-focus; Intro to Engineering course instructors - Team-based engineering design project focus; Intro to Engineering course instructors - Student development/student success focus; and Department of Engineering Education - Faculty and administrators. This interactive session is designed to allow all these attendees to share their insights into the following topics on First Year Engineering.

  • Best practices for FYE courses/programs
  • Transitioning students from high school to engineering study
  • Sharing FYE successes
  • Academic advising for FYE students
  • FYE courses having "student development/student success" focus
  • Challenges of implementing FYE courses/programs in community colleges
  • Designing a FYE course
  • Retention strategies for underrepresented FYE students
  • Strategies for strengthening students' commitment to engineering
  • Engineering education research
  • Implementation of team-based engineering design projects in FYE courses
  • Teaching communication skills to FYE students

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