ABM program discussion/contributions by faculty

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ABM program discussion/contributions by faculty

Post by ejbarbero »

In this "topic" of our new "MAE faculty forum" we share our opinions about the proposed ABM program.
This is not "social media". You need to register in order to post your response (*)
If you wish to remain anonymous, use an "alias" when you register, but why? we're not sharing "nuclear secrets", it's up to you (*)

To start the discussion, I will briefly make the case for a research-option ABM.
The advantages of a research-option ABM are:
-- WVU can recruit high school students, which will be impressed by the opportunity to do research, not just to get a Master's degree.
-- There is a huge university push for "undergraduate research." https://undergraduateresearch.wvu.edu/home
We integrate that into our ABM and students can have a big chunk of their research done by the time they become "graduate students" (5th year).
-- Then, we can recruit at the end of the freshman year by offering a research-track MS that will not cost them money. A grant will pay for the 5th year. The WVU ABM approved document says EXPLICITLY that students can receive a GRA/GTA once they become "graduate students" (5th year).
-- Then, we can recruit sophomores and juniors the same way, better than we currently do because they can start early and save a year.
-- Other schools have ABM (the University of Colorado, etc.) Without ABM we are at a disadvantage.
-- Course-only ABM is not useful to us because virtually nobody would pay tuition to get an MS degree with us, except maybe from some industry people that have a BS and want to do only the MS, so they are not in an ABM track, they are different.
-- We can add a course-only-option later.
-- Lack of a program code is not an excuse to kill our research-based ABM. Just get a program code. What is the big deal?

Please click "Post Reply" to add your comments. Thank you.

(*) HOW TO REGISTER: send me an email and I will register you. Tell me if you want to use an alias, otherwise, I will use part of your email for your USERNAME, like for me it is "ejbarbero".You will receive a secret password by email, which you can change after you login.
2021 spring retreat ABM.pdf
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Re: ABM program discussion/contributions by faculty

Post by jgross2 »

From our high performing student's persepctive, this program could become more compelling the the dual BS degree option. It could improve undergrad and grad program, but may reduce number of students seeking dual degrees.

As we all know that WVU has taken itself out of the academic common market. Historically, our dual degree program attracted a significant number out of state students because they could get instate for this unique dual program. Since this academic common market is no longer an option, we likely need to explore ways to attract students to our program and maybe ABM could be an option to help.

On the contrary, ABM could reduce number of dual majors (i.e., would you rather spend 5 years getting 2 BS degrees or a BS/MS?). The dual degree likely attracts AE majors. I personally did the dual degree program. When choosing a major, I was an uniformed freshmen that just considered that ME was the most 'standard' engineering degree, but I liked the challenge of dual program, so decided to go for it. I ended up liking the AE classes more and pursued that in grad school. If there were an ABM back then, I probably just would have gone for that instead.

Both programs have merit and we should try to sustain both. We will need to have strong freshmen advising to direct students to the right pathway.

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Re: ABM program discussion/contributions by faculty

Post by nszczeci »

I think the arguments raised in favor of the thesis-based ABM are solid. I agree that this program should enable already ambitious students to excel even further. But the conversation has been somewhat hypothetical so far, so I wanted to weigh in with some personal experience.

I entered university with 27 credit hours from AP credit, assuming I would just graduate early. I didn't know anything about academic careers. My advisor encouraged me to enroll in the ABM program at my university. I was already a year ahead, so why not? While in undergrad I took several research courses that enabled me to conduct thesis research, I did research on campus during the summers after my junior and senior years (supported by SURE-type funding), and I graduated with my MS 4.5 years after starting university. I turned my thesis into a journal publication, and it laid the groundwork for my PhD research. My experiences in the ABM, both teaching and research, encouraged me to pursue my PhD.

I was not alone in this experience. Several of my peers completed the ABM program, then a PhD, and went on to be tenure track faculty at UNC, CMU, CWRU, and WVU, just within the past 5 years. By recruiting highly motivated students and exposing them to research and teaching early in their careers, they can focus their junior, senior, and graduate years toward research (via project courses, capstone, and summer research) and academic career development.

I think the ABM would be a useful tool for pulling motivated undergraduates into graduate school.

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Re: ABM program discussion/contributions by faculty

Post by acnix »

Jacky and MAE Colleagues,

While I think a program of this type is important and useful for recruiting and retaining top notch MAE students for graduate school, I am not convinced that even our best students in ME or AE will be able to take a full course load their final year of undergrad/first year of grad school and be productive in research. The presentation lays the groundwork for some of the course and credit requirements, but I personally do not want a student who is only productive in research for a single year, or a year plus a bit of work in the overlap year.

Some other points of note:

The presentation says that 12 credit hours can be shared between the BS and MS, but later says 6. Can this be clarified?

For the early admission from HS, we should as for WAY higher than a 3.0 GPA. Getting a 4.0 these days is fairly normal with AP credit factored in?

I believe the students should be able to be conferred their BS degree. This is so important to many of our students.

Why would Independent Study not be allowed to count for the BS/MS shared course? I think if the specific IS class has enough material it should be allowed.

Lastly, if we move in this direction, we should allow MAE 497 Undergraduate Research to be counted as a Tech Elective for ALL undergraduate students, and for the ABM student this class may be able to count as well, but cannot be counted for the MS. Doing this would clear up a little time in the student’s schedule and allow them to focus on research. We should possibly also say if they take MAE 497 for credit, they cannot register for MAE 697 in the same semester?

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