One of the objectives of our small program focusing on student retention in STEM disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels is to encourage universities to obtain and pay attention to data on the migration of their own students into and out of STEM disciplines. In the absence of such data, which most universities do not have, many campuses are either unaware of or ignore high net out-migration of students from their STEM departments. The result is wasted resources, underutilized faculty and facilities, and, depending on why students leave these disciplines, disappointed educational aspirations.
Funds from this grant support a project by the American Society for Engineering Education to collect and report data on completion rates and time-to-degree in undergraduate engineering programs. Initial data collection will begin in the summer of 2012 with ASEE inviting all 380 U.S. engineering schools to participate. Data will be published in aggregate form, reporting separately on public and private institutions; schools that accept students as freshmen, sophomores, or juniors; and transfer and non-transfer students. The collected information will provide a rich dataset for scholarly analysis of student flows into and out of engineering.