CA-01: Enhancing Student Success through a Model "Introduction to Engineering" Course
RAYMOND B. LANDIS, California State University, Los Angeles
STEFFEN PEUKER, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

January 7-9, 2015 at California State University, Dominquez Hills in Carson, CA (Los Angeles area)

"Sink or Swim."  For decades the general paradigm within engineering education in the U.S. has been to put up a difficult challenge and "weed out" those students that don't measure up. Whether this approach ever worked is debatable, but characteristics of today’s students such as fixed mindsets, unwillingness to read, low attention spans, difficulty focusing on complex problems, obsession with texting and social media make an even more compelling case for the need to provide students help in transitioning from high school to university-level engineering study.
This short course will address strategies for enhancing the success of first-year engineering students through approximately one-credit hour of curriculum (a small, orientation-type course or a module in a larger Introduction to Engineering course having other objectives) that  focuses on five primary “student development” themes: community building, professional development, academic development, personal development, and orientation. Participants will learn general pedagogical approaches for working with students to bring about substantive changes in their attitudes and behaviors and approaches for accomplishing important objectives under each of the five primary themes. The format of the course will be strongly interactive.  Emphasis will be placed on group problem solving and experiential learning.

A specific focus will be devoted to a powerful "student centered" approach for guiding students in developing a plan for moving from where they are to where they need to be on a number of important issues related to their success in math/science/engineering coursework -- the “Design Your Process for Becoming a World-Class Engineering Student” project.

Intended Audience:  Engineering faculty and engineering student services staff working to enhance engineering student success through Introduction to Engineering courses, summer orientations, or formal and informal advising and mentoring. 

Prerequisites:  None.  (Note: Acceptance is conditional on the completion and submission of a “contract” committing to be in attendance from the start of the course on January 7 to the end of the course on January 9 and agreeing to do assigned work prior to, during, and after the course.

Registration:  Register on line at:  (Note: Enrollment will be limited to 30 participants)

Cost:  $75 application fee and $125 course fee

For information on course content:  Contact Ray Landis, E-mail:

For information on logistics and accommodations:  Contact Kim Barras, California State University, Dominquez Hills, E-mail:  Recommended hotel: Holiday Inn – Torrance, 19800 S Vermont Ave., Torrance, CA 90502, (310) 781-9100.

Dr. Landis is Dean Emeritus of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles.  He is a nationally recognized expert and frequent invited speaker on engineering student retention and the author of the best-selling Introduction to Engineering textbook—Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career—now in its 4th Edition with over 150,000 copies in print.  See:

Dr. Peuker is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  He is a pioneering implementer of the “Design Your Process of Becoming a World-Class Engineering Student.”  He has conducted workshops on implementation of the project at local and national engineering education conferences.  His paper “Improving Student Success and Retention Rates in Engineering: One Year After Implementation” (with Nova Schauss) demonstrates that participation in the project leads to 0.5 point improvement in first-year GPA and 10 percentage points improvement in freshman-to-sophomore retention.