Project Summary

Studies of engineering student persistence are best performed using longitudinal datasets, but these are rarely available. Most studies rely on cross-sectional data or on the construction of synthetic cohorts to model outcomes over time, yielding results that can be challenging to interpret. These approximations are not necessary in research using the Multi Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD).

History of MIDFIELD

A longitudinal database containing student records from each of the universities participating in the Southeastern University and College Coalition for Engineering Education (SUCCEED) was developed in 1996. The database compiled records from 1987 through 2004. An extensive body of research has been conducted using the SUCCEED database. The SUCCEED Institutions:

  • Clemson University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Florida State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Florida
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

By 2004, technological advancements have made it possible to expand the scope of the data included in the database, and thus expand the studies that can be conducted. The partner universities agreed to contribute transcript information: the courses that students have taken and the grades they have earned in them. With these data from nine universities placed in a common format,exciting research questions could be addressed.

The Opportunity to Expand the SUCCEED Longitudinal Database Negotiations initiated in 2002 with the SUCCEED partner institutions resulted in a new partnership to form the Multiple-Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD). Prior to this new partnership, the participating institutions had already committed to providing supplementary data annually to the SUCCEED Longitudinal Database until three years after the end of the SUCCEED Coalition (NSF funding terminated in 2003). The database in its current configuration has significant value to the engineering education community. The value will be improved significantly through the addition of course enrollment and grade data for the entire population. The addition of course and grade data will make possible a broader range of research questions. Two new institutions (Purdue University and the University of Colorado Boulder) were added in 2010.

Protection of Human Rights

Protection of human rights governed by the Purdue University Institutional Research Board Protocol # 1006009458.

Purdue University remains committed to providing an environment where individuals may report, in a simple anonymous way, suspected fraud, waste, or abuse of University assets, as well as, regulatory noncompliance. If you see or suspect unethical or illegal behavior, you may report your concerns anonymously via Purdue University's enterprise–wide Hotline.

Call on 1-866-818-2620

Purdue University IRB
Ernest C. Young Hall
10th Floor, Room 1032
155 S. Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907–2114
Phone: (765) 49-45942
Fax: (765) 49-49911

Data Security

The project team maintains the database on a secure computer in secured facilities.   The computer is not networked or connected to the internet.  Member institutions transmit data to the MIDFIELD data steward via password-protected, encrypted DVDs sent via registered, next-day FedEx.  These DVDs are stored in a locked filing cabinet in a secure office.   Only the MIDFIELD data steward has access to these discs.   Identifiers are created especially for MIDFIELD.  They are not Social Security Numbers or student IDs.

To protect the confidentiality of both students and institutions, researchers outside the central team will never handle raw institutional data. Reports aggregated by student and institution will be made available. If institutional identification is needed (e.g., to study policy differences), they will be conducted by the central team.

The project team obtains confidentiality agreements from all those who have access to the data, including those who only see aggregated data.  No individually identifiable data are released.  Data from partner universities are placed in a common format, so MIDFIELD can be used for cross-institutional studies.  The common format further protects the identity of students.

Memoranda of Understanding and Researcher Confidentiality Agreements are stored in a locked filing cabinet in a secure office.

Research Team

Matthew Ohland (Executive Director), Purdue University, Engineering Education, Professor.
Russell Long (Managing Director), Purdue University, Engineering Education, Director of Project Assessment.



Catherine Brawner
, Research Triangle Educational Consultants, President.
Rebecca Brent, Education Designs, President.
Brock Barry, United States Military Academy at West Point, Civil Engineering, Director, Mechanics Group
Michelle Madsen Camacho, University of San Diego, Sociology, Chair and Professor.
Xingyu Chen, Purdue University, Engineering Education, Post Graduate Fellow
Clemencia Cosentino, Mathematica Policy Research.
Jake Davis, Purdue University, Accounting & Business Management, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Trina Fletcher, Purdue University, Engineering Education, Graduate Fellow
Linda Hagedorn, Iowa State University, Research Institute for Studies in Higher Education, Professor & Director.
Eric Leonardo Huerta, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Fulbright Fellow at Purdue University, School of Engineering Education
Richard Layton, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education & Mechanical Engineering, Director & Associate Professor.
Susan Lord, University of San Diego, Electrical Engineering, Chair and Professor
Valerie Lundy-Wagner, Teachers College, Columbia University, Community College Research Center.
Joyce Main, Purdue University, Engineering education, Assistant Professor
Jacqueline McNeil, Purdue University, Post Graduate Fellow
Catherine Mobley, Clemson University, Sociology, Associate Professor
Kevin Mumford, Purdue University, Krannert School of Business, Economics, Assistant Professor.
Marisa Orr, Louisiana Tech university, Mechanical Engineering, Assistant Professor
Mary Pilotte, Purdue University, Engineering Education, Associate Professor of Engineering Practice
Nichole Ramirez, Purdue University, Engineering Education, Graduate Fellow.
George Ricco, Gonzaga University, KEEN Program Coordinator
Margaret Sullivan, Mathematica Policy Research, Researcher, Education Policy
Cindy Veenstra, Veenstra and Associates, Director.
Catherine Watt
, Plotinus Consulting, Partner

Past (including SUCCEED)

Timothy Anderson
, UMass Amherst, Distinquished Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering
Maura Borrego, University of Texas at Austin, Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor
Ronnie Chrestman, Clemson University, Office of Institutional Research, Lecturer.
Dmetra Evangelou, Democritus University of Thrace, Education
Sharron Frillman, Purdue University, Graduate Fellow
Marc Hoit, North Carolina State University, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO
Matthew Huber, Purdue University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Professor
Lisa Lattuca, University of Michigan, School of Education, Professor
Thomas Miller III, North Carolina State University, Vice Provost, Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications
Young Kyoung Min, Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science & Creativity, Senior Research Scientist.
Ida Ngambeki, Purdue University, College of Technology, Visiting Assistant Professor
William Oakes, Purdue University, Director of EPICS and Professor
Miguel Padilla, Old Dominion University, Psychology, Assistant Professor
Sarah Rajala, Iowa State University, College of Engineering, Dean and Professor
Noah Salzman, Boise State University, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Assistant Professor
Corey Schimpf, Purdue University, Engineering Education, Graduate Fellow
Sherri Sheppard, Stanford University, the Burton J and Deedee McMurtry University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Benjamin Sill, Clemson University, General Engineering, Director, retired
Michele Strutz, Purdue University, Engineering education, Continuing Lecturer
Patrick Terenzini, Penn State, Department of Education Policy Studies and Center for the Study of Higher Education, Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and Senior Scientist
Brian Thorndyke, Vega Ohysics, Computational Physicist
Mara Wasburn, deceased 2011, Purdue University, Organizational Leadership & Policies.
Guili Zhang, East Carolina University, Curriculum and Instruction, Assistant Professor