(478a) Engaging Early Engineering Students: An NSF STEP Project to Increase Student Retention
AIChE Annual Meeting
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 3:15pm to 3:33pm
Early ?leavers? from engineering programs typically fall into one of two overlapping categories: (a) those who leave because of academic difficulties and (b) those who leave because they find the educational environment of early engineering to be hostile and/or not engaging. This paper describes a new NSF STEP project, which presents a suite of four articulated programs that is designed to ease the transition of high school students into engineering undergraduate programs, and, by making the transition smoother, to increase the retention rate of early engineering students.
The research we describe consists of four subprograms: (a) a program to provide formative assessments in the key early courses with follow-on ?bootstrapping? tutorials, (b) a supplemental instruction program which we call the PAL (peer-assisted learning) subproject, (c) a program to directly engage engineering faculty with early engineering students, and (d) a program to develop and exploit course material from one key course in another. Our effort is to develop a system of four interrelated, articulated programs that will be more effective than the sum of its parts.
For a college in which students are not admitted directly to a department, this paper will emphasize how chemical engineering faculty members are engaged in the college-wide program thus actively serving as role models for our future students and as mentors who can recruit and retain quality students for our program.
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