One of ENGAGE's key research-based strategies to improve undergraduate retention in engineering is to increase faculty-student interaction. ENGAGE will be sending you a monthly tip that is big on student impact and low on time commitment.  




ENGAGE Tip: The One Minute Message

Students want to learn more about how their classroom learning relates to their future engineering careers. When they do, they are more motivated and engaged in learning in class, and they are more interested in persisting in the major.   While providing many career-relevant examples or real-world examples is ideal, this may not be possible on a regular basis because of tight time constraints.  


One time effective method is to start class with a one-minute messageAs a faculty member, you will reach an entire class of students (and not just the students who happen to stay after class to ask questions).  It is also a way for you to connect with your students on a more personal level and increase your "accessibility index" which has a positive impact on your teaching evaluations.


Some Ideas:


Brainstorm some interesting things you'd like students to know about the field, and simply provide one nugget each week, or even each class period - kind of a Did you know?  technique.  For example: 

  •  Circulate an article about a real-world problem involving engineers or something in the news and connect it to what students are studying in your class or a particular major (s).
  • Consider starting the class by telling students about your research - what are you studying? what problem are you trying to solve?
  • Consider asking students to bring a Did you know? related to the engineering field and allow a minute at the start or end of class to hear one or two.

Most students think their professors spend their time  teaching them and working at something vague called "research". The one minute message is a simple, time-effective way to engage students in class, connect with faculty  AND learn more about what engineers do. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!


To read more about this topic:


Lichtenstein, G. and colleagues. (2009). An engineering major does not (necessarily) an engineer make: Career decision-making among undergraduate engineering majors. Journal of Engineering Education, 98(3), 227-234.


Larkin, J. E., LaPort, K. A., & Pines, H. A. (2007). Job choice and career relevance for today's college students. Journal of Employment Counseling, 44(2), 86-94.


Gall, K., Knight, D. W., Carlson, L. E., & Sullivan, J. F. (2003, Oct). Making the grade with students: The case for accessibility

Journal of Engineering Education, 92, 337-343.


Susan Metz
Contact Email
Principal Investigator

NSF LogoThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0833076. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.