ASEE Zone 2 Conference 2017

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How to improve engineering recruitment and retention

How to Improve Engineering Recruitment and Retention

Dr. Paul P. Lin

ASME Fellow
Associate Dean and Professor
College of Engineering
Cleveland State University

The United States accounts for less than 8% of new engineers globally each year. As of 2000, approximately 9% of high school students considering engineering as their future major in college. More specifically, only 4.5% of college students major in engineering, as compared to 12% in Europe and 40% in Asia. Furthermore, 50% of current engineers in US will retire by 2017. Clearly, shortage of engineers in US has become an emergent issue, which leads to a challenge in how to effectively recruit and retain engineering students. Recruitment and retention should not be treated as two separate issues. Without a sound strategy for improving retention rate, the effort of recruitment may be in vain. In comparison, improving retention is, indeed a more complex task, which has to do with student advising, student success, tutoring and first-year engineering programs.

The author ‘s job responsibility is academic affairs at undergraduate and graduate levels, and would like to share some success in undergraduate recruitment, student advising and retention. Nevertheless, there are still challenges in many aspects of engineering recruitment and retention.

This proposed workshop intends to discuss the following issues:

1. how to engage regional high school students earlier to let them know what engineering is all about; in other words, how to make engineering a more viable option as a field of study and career opportunity
2. how to effectively recruit regional high school students to engineering
3. how to effectively retain engineering students
4. how to effectively use scholarships as a means to attract better students from high schools
5. how much co-op and internship programs help recruit and retain students
6. how to effectively recruit domestic and international graduate students


Paul Lin    
Engineering Dean's Office
Cleveland State University
United States


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