Engineering Pathways of Nontraditional Students—an Update on NSF Award 1361058 A large‐scale longitudinal study of nontraditional engineering students has provided descriptive information about the access, pathways, and success of nontraditional engineering students. Nontraditional students hold the potential to increase not only the number of engineering students, but also the diversity of the engineering student body. This descriptive study laid the groundwork for a larger study of nontraditional student pathways. The study of nontraditional student pathways will reveal patterns in how nontraditional students choose majors, how they migrate, and where they succeed. This study uses the Multiple‐Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD). MIDFIELD is a longitudinal, multi‐institutional, and multivariate dataset of over 209,737 engineering students. MIDFIELD is large enough to provide a better understanding of nontraditional students in public 4 year universities, identify conditions where they are more numerous and more successful, and explore the conditions that support their success. Whereas prior research has ignored or masked the contribution of nontraditional students to graduation statistics, this research focuses on nontraditional status and its associated outcomes. By studying what happens to those nontraditional students in particular, this project will draw attention to the educational outcomes of a population that currently comprises 10% of student enrollment, but represents some of the fastest growing pathways in US higher education.


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Engineering education, engineering pathways, nontraditional students

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McNeil, J. C., & Ohland, M. W., & Long, R. A. (2015, June), Engineering Pathways of Nontraditional Students—an Update on NSF Award 1361058 Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23974