Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Education

Committee Chair(s)

Ning Fang


Ning Fang


Edward M. Reeve


Wade Goodridge


Angela Minichiello


Idalis Villanueva


According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the aims of education include, “fostering international understanding among all the peoples of the world, improving the standard for living of people in various countries, and solving the continuing problem that plague humanity, such as war, disease, hunger and unemployment.” Therefore, any nation of the world that would keep meeting the demands of its community, solve societal problems, and stay on competitive edge in the international community must keep improving its educational system.

One primary goal of any educational system is to prepare students who are career-ready to be part of the workforce. The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field plays a pivotal role in improving the economy, providing security, advancing technology, and enhancing productivity. It is necessary to increase the retention of competent engineering students graduating from our colleges of engineering, by increasing engagement in college activities, improving college experiences, utilizing learning and study strategies that optimize learning, and thoroughly preparing students to meet the needs of society and the demands of the industry.

Past studies have suggested that demography, quality of effort, study skills, and college environment are significant contributory factors that predict students’ academic achievement and career readiness. Other studies have suggested that best educational practices, such as active learning, student-faculty interaction, learning communities, internships, capstone courses and projects, undergraduate research are the greatest contributors to academic achievement. In this study, the researcher used two instruments, College Student Experience Questionnaires and Learning and Study Strategies Inventory, to evaluate the quality of effort, educational practices, study skills, college environment, and progress made towards desired outcome of college. A follow-up interview session to further explore their college experiences and learning skills was conducted. The outcome of the interview provided the researcher with consolidation and explanation of the quantitative surveys’ results.

The outcome of this study shows that quality of relationships students experiences on campus, and emphasis on university policies, have a significant impact on progress high-achieving engineering students made towards desired outcome of college. Furthermore, best educational practices, such as internships, capstone courses and projects, undergraduate research, and peer learning significantly prepared the high-achieving engineering students for the workforce.



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