Wednesday August 25, 2010

Engineering a Success Story

The School of Engineering sets a record for first-year enrollment.

During recent campus visits to the University of Dayton, two School of Engineering faculty members impressed Ben Kasper with their memories of him from a one-week summer engineering camp two years ago.

It was one of the main reasons Kasper will be among the largest first-year class ever to enroll in the University of Dayton's School of Engineering, eclipsing the record set two years ago.

"I do not believe any other university I applied to would have taken the time to remember a sophomore in high school who was only there one week," said Kasper, a graduate of Turpin High School in Cincinnati. "It was that feeling of belonging that always stuck out to me even when other colleges were in the picture."

That personal touch is among the reasons Dean Tony Saliba feels the School of Engineering continues to enroll students at a rate greater than three times the national average. The school has nearly doubled its first-year enrollment from 225 to 430 students in the last six years. The national first-year engineering school enrollment in that span has increased just 16 percent, according to figures from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Two years ago, the School of Engineering brought in a record 379 students. This year's record of 430 is a 13 percent increase, compared to the national one-year increase of nearly 3 percent.

The percentage of women entering the University of Dayton School of Engineering continues to outpace the national average — 20.9 percent to 18.2 percent. In the last decade, the University's engineering technology program ranks 25th in the nation in the number of degrees granted. It ties for third nationally in the number of degrees granted to women.

"We offer personal attention to our students and our programs are strong," Saliba said. "People are seeing great value in the components of our education: a strong technical component within the engineering curriculum, a balanced number of non-engineering courses for a well-rounded engineering education, leadership development of our students, and the development of innovation and entrepreneurship skills and mindset."

Saliba says engineering faculty and staff spend considerable time nurturing prospective students during campus visits, phone calls and at open houses and other special events such as engineering camps.

The School of Engineering also is making gains in minority enrollment.

Minority students make up 10 percent of this year's first-year class, a figure that has doubled in the past four years. A third of the University's incoming African-American students are headed to the School of Engineering.

Odds are that engineering students who come to the University of Dayton will stay at the University of Dayton. Saliba said the school’s retention rate for first-year students is 90 percent and the four-year graduation rate is greater than 70 percent.

"Not once did I hear a bad thing said about the school from anyone who has gone or goes to UD," Kasper said.

While they are here, students can conduct research on campus and at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. National Science Foundation statistics show the University ranks 25th among all colleges and universities nationally for sponsored engineering research and development.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or