A better mousetrap: Why did they come?

Mary R. Anderson-Rowland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


An Academic Success and Professional Development Class, FSE 394, has been offered for over 10 years for engineering and computer science students at Arizona State University (ASU). Seminars were first held for 22 students with scholarships from one NSF S-STEM program, with an emphasis on females and underrepresented minority students and both transfer and nontransfer students. The seminars have now grown to a required class for credit for some 80 scholarship students, but along the way an increasing number of students without scholarships, especially transfer students have enrolled in the class. In Fall 2012, a record number (by 45 students) 179 students enrolled in the class, challenging the ability of the instructor to continue to provide a personal touch in the course for each student. Several reasons were speculated for this sudden increase in enrollment: Increased transfer enrollment in the school, a change in advisement for transfer students, increased word of mouth by satisfied students in the class, or increased advertisement of the course. We wanted to better understand this increase so we could better manage it in the future. We conducted a closed study as a method to better understand a retention program. In order to understand the sudden swell in students in the course, surveys were given to all of the students in the class. Our primary questions were: "What is the main reason why you enrolled in FSE 394 for Fall 2012?" and "What are all of the reasons why you enrolled in FSE 394 for Fall 2012?" Several reasons were suggested. The results of the survey showed that the most common reasons for enrolling in the course were: 1) required by scholarship, 2) offer of a $300 scholarship for completing the course, 3) advised to take the class by someone who had taken the course, 4) advised to take the course in place of ASU 101 Introduction to ASU, and 5) needed help with academics. Another factor in the enrollment increase was likely the increase in new transfer students in engineering in Fall 2012. A smaller factor was older transfer students who were doing career change. The increase in veteran students was small. In Fall 2013, the Ira A. Schools of Engineering will no longer require that new transfer students take ASU 101 or an equivalent, but will offer a one-credit, one semester orientation course instead to be taken voluntarily. Hopefully, this will check the increasing FSE 394 enrollment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2013
Event120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 26 2013


Other120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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