Universidad Complutense de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 5828-5834
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.1448
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
More than half of the students who drop out of undergraduate studies do it after the first year of their degree. Between the 2015/16 and 2020/21 academic years, the dropout rate in the Chemical Engineering Degree at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) doubled from 15% to 27%. Around 20% of students enrolled in the Chemical Engineering Degree at UCM drop out after the first year. However, the cut-off mark for access has continued to increase, reaching over 11, demonstrating the interest in these studies among high school students.
The objectives of this work are to identify the particular problems faced by first-year undergraduate students that can lead them to drop out of their studies, to implement various motivational activities to improve their university experience, and to promote contact with professionals working in relevant areas of chemical engineering.
First, anonymous surveys were conducted among undergraduate students to gather information on their choice of studies, their degree of satisfaction with them and, in short, to establish the main causes of dropout. Among the main reasons for dropping out, socio-economic reasons, lack of affinity with some lectures and dissatisfaction with previous expectations were identified. In addition, in their responses, many students showed that they were unaware of the activities they would have to develop professionally as chemical engineers.
Following the results of the surveys, various activities were developed to increase motivation for their studies by promoting contact between students and professionals working in the field of chemical engineering. Talks were scheduled by professionals (former faculty students) in which students could perceive that the skills acquired in the degree allow the development of their profession in different sectors: chemical industry, energy, environmental conservation, climate change, etc. Visits were also made to industrial facilities to show the role that Chemical Engineering plays in society, including companies and sectors as representative as Air Liquide, Fertiberia, Iberdrola, and Canal de Isabel Segunda, among others. The degree of satisfaction of the students after each activity was very high. The time allotted for each talk was exceeded due to the important number of questions at the end. The interest is explained by the fact that it allows students to see themselves reflected in people who studied in their classrooms not so many years ago. Likewise, the students requested that the degree program include visits to industrial facilities to bring students closer to the professional world of chemical engineering.
Dropout rate, Motivation, Industry.