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ERIC Number: EJ1083519
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0091-5521
Dedicated to Their Degrees: Adult Transfer Students in Engineering Baccalaureate Programs
Allen, Taryn Ozuna; Zhang, Yi
Community College Review, v44 n1 p70-86 Jan 2016
Objective: Increasing degree completion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, particularly engineering, is a national priority. With an aspiration to increase the number of STEM graduates by one million in the next 10 years, more research is needed to understand the role of community colleges in achieving this national goal. This qualitative study examined the motivations and learning experiences of adult learners who transferred from a community college to pursue an engineering degree at a 4-year university. Method: Using Knowles, Holton, and Swanson's theory for adult learning, or andragogy, we interviewed 18 adult students who transferred from a community college to engineering programs at a 4-year research institution. Each participant was interviewed twice using a one-on-one, semi-structured format. Results: We found students were motivated to pursue engineering programs because of the perceived prestige associated with becoming an engineer and because of their personal curiosity in solving problems and understanding how things work. The participants further demonstrated their motivation for learning through their high post-baccalaureate aspirations, which included pursuing graduate school. To achieve academic and vocational success, students strategically developed peer relationships and selectively participated in engagement opportunities with the greatest professional or academic benefits. Contributions: Recommendations for campus policies and practices include restructuring campus involvement opportunities to allow adult learners to access information through self-paced activities. Furthermore, our findings suggest institutions should communicate the academic and professional benefits of campus involvement and consider strategies to facilitate interactions between older adult students and their younger peers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A