Automotive Mechanic

Automotive Mechanic

Description, Mission and Values

The Automotive Department is an academic constituent of the School of Science and Technology and serves the associates of applied sciences education area for students at Dixie State University. An Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology degree program and a Certificate program offered through the Department represent areas of applied education as part of the community college mission of Dixie State University.

The mission of the Automotive Department is to prepare graduates to be competent in the technical theory of automobiles and have hands-on experience with actual automobiles so that at the end of the program the student will be immediately productive as an automotive technician. Automotive technician graduates will possess the skills and knowledge to sit and hopefully pass national certification tests (ASE Testing Certification) in at least 6 of the 8 areas offered for the Certificate Program and all 8 of the areas for the Associates of Applied Science Program. The student should also possess the ability to communicate and solve automotive problems efficiently as part of the educational requirements.

Major Changes and Significant Trends

Enrollment in the Automotive Program increased significantly when the economy had a downturn in 2008. As a result of the increase, the way the shop was conducted was changed to accommodate the students. The class and the automotive shop portions of the class were separated. This required the hiring of certified ASE shop adjuncts to help guide students through the shop exercises required in the program and by NATEF. It also meant that more space was needed. In 2010, the auto body program moved out of the shop area and this allowed for expansion. The result has been beneficial and is allowing for new equipment and techniques in alternate fuels, diesel, and hybrid to be considered part of the shop program.

Enrollment has leveled off and actually decreased slightly in 2012 with the economy moving in a positive direction. The changes made have helped maintain the program at a viable level.

Assessment and Effectiveness

The program is designed to provide the student seeking entry-level employment in the automotive repair and service industry with the knowledge and skills to be successful. The knowledge and skill set obtained through the program includes basic automotive theory, basic vehicle repair, and the skills necessary to correctly analyze and perform maintenance procedures.

This program is designed to provide the following learning outcomes from the program practices and skills:

  • Demonstrate save work practices to protect vehicles, self and the environment (hazardous waste material handling).
  • Communicate clearly, concisely, and effectively in writing and speech along with listening to, and understanding information and ideas as presented verbally to team members and others.
  • Conduct yourself on the job with a high degree of professionalism.
  • Demonstrate the use of service literature and manuals, standards, terminology, and tools effectively and efficiently.
  • Demonstrate an ability to do systematic diagnostics and repair strategy to maintain modern automobiles and light trucks.
  • Maintain and perform light repairs to automotive electrical systems, automatic and/or manual transmissions, steering and suspension, brake systems, heating and air conditioning systems, and internal combustion engine repair/or engine performance to NATEF standards.
  • Perform minor vehicle services

Each of the above learning outcomes will be assessed by a pre- and post-test procedure in the classroom using sample test questions where applicable from ASE certification sample examination questions. NATEF has developed a list of tasks that a student must complete in each of the 8 areas of certification in the shop area. The student has a workbook for each shop subject area with a list of tasks specified by NATEF which must be signed off by the instructor as being completed. The student is encouraged to take the ASE certification examinations for the 8 areas upon completion of the program (resulted are not available to the program). An Automotive Technology Advisory Committee meets at least twice per year to review the programs and make suggestions for improvement of facilities, instructional materials, performance of graduates, and discussion of any new goals. This advisory committee is required by NATEF.

Plans for the Future

The automobile has many more years in its future. Significant changes in our program are going to be in the alternative fuels and motors used in the vehicles. The department is presently looking at offering alternative fuel engagements for our students along with diesel in automobiles and light trucks. Compressed natural gas and fuel mixtures from recycled fuels are presently being considered within our program. Equipment is being purchased that will allow for us to start teaching in these areas within the coming year. Electrical motors and alternative combustion motor technology are pushing the automobile industry and training in these areas is becoming necessary for the modern technician.