Engineering learning communities - USA national survey 2012

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to identify and describe Engineering Learning Communities (ELC) at US four-year institutions in 2012. ELCs were identified at 149 out of 356 US institutions with engineering majors. Information was obtained from 76 ELC coordinators, a response rate of 51 %. Most ELCs were targeted at the general engineering population; however, significant numbers were targeted at women, minority students, students in specific engineering majors, or some combination. Almost all ELCs accept freshman year students. Smaller percentages accept sophomores, juniors, and/or seniors. Most ELCs have students live on campus in a single residence hall and have students take one or more common class. According to the coordinators, tutoring/mentoring was the activity ELC students participated in the most hours per semester or quarter, followed by academic coaching and social events. Only 37 coordinators provided budget information. Amounts varied widely, but most were low. The most commonly used evaluation methods used were retention rate, surveys, and GPA. Retention rate estimates-after one year in an ELC-ranged from 33 to 100 %, with a mean of 82.6 % and median of 85. The majority of coordinators reported high retention. Those programs are likely to increase their institution's 6-year graduation rate; however, the presence of 6 low retention programs indicates that ELCs are not a miracle cure. Scenarios exist where ELCs do not lead to high retention. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2013.

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