Phillips, Claire (2011-08). A Case Study Examination of an Engineering Articulation Process between a Community College and a University. Doctoral Dissertation.
Industry data suggests that the U.S. educational system is being challenged to produce more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduates and, in particular, engineering baccalaureate degreed students. However, this is not a simple issue of increasing engineering program applicants because academic preparation begins early in the student's academic career, with significant math and science requirements. Even though half of today's undergraduate students are taking classes at community colleges, and 20 percent of baccalaureate degreed engineers started in the community college system, community college students in pre-engineering studies do not transfer to university engineering programs in numbers necessary to decrease the engineering deficit. This dissertation was based on the assumption that, if pathways between two- and four-year institutions were improved through systematic approaches like articulation, the supply of engineers in the U.S. might be positively affected. This dissertation used a case study approach to analyze an articulation process used by a community college and a university to forge a partnership designed to enhance this engineering pipeline. Using systems theory as a conceptual backdrop, the study looked at significant inputs, throughputs, outputs, and outcomes to the articulation negotiation process and analyzed roadblocks to that process. In the summary chapter, the paper addressed practical ways to bridge this gap and provide support mechanisms needed for STEM students to smoothly move from one higher education sector to the next.