Easing into engineering education: An orientation program for graduate students

Stephanie Cutler, Walter Curtis Lee, Lisa D. McNair

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

2 Citations (SciVal)


Orientation programs are an important contributor to a student's transition into an academic program. Transitioning into a doctorate program can be difficult, as each program has a unique set of expectations and norms to which a student must acclimate. Transitioning into an engineering education doctoral program is no exception with the additional difficulty of shifting from a more technical background to an education-based program. While researchers have examined the orientation process in various environments, little, if any, research has examined an effective means of transitioning students from a traditional engineering program into an engineering education doctorate program. The purpose of this project is to ease this transition through the development of a formal orientation for an Engineering Education department; the ADDIE model for training design was used. The first step was a thorough analysis of the department, student requirements, tasks, personnel, and knowledge, skills & attitudes (KSA) required by a doctorate student in engineering education. Then, we developed learning objectives and a plan of instruction that would optimize the learning, retention, and transfer of the information introduced during the orientation. Next, we developed the physical elements of the orientation program, which was followed by implementation of the program prior to the Fall 2011 semester. Lastly, we assessed the effectiveness of the program through a post-survey, designed to capture the reaction of the participants shortly after orientation, and a focus group, designed to provide more reflective feedback after the students completed most of their first semester in the program. Eight students attended the orientation. This paper will discuss the (1) analysis, (2) design, (3) development, (4) implementation, and (5) evaluation of an orientation program designed by graduate students specifically for new graduate students entering an engineering education doctoral program. There is minimal research on the transition from a traditional engineering program to engineering education, specifically for graduate students, and our project will provide insight into this transition and a means by which to aid in the transition. The goal of this paper is to bring added attention to the experience of new engineering education students and provide existing and departments with a systematic process for developing an orientation program that will assist students as they make this transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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