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A Retention Model for Community College STEM Students

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Course Tools and Practices

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

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Jennifer Snyder Valencia College

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Jennifer Snyder is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. She is a dean of science for Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.

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Elizabeth A. Cudney Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Dr. Elizabeth Cudney is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford, and her doctorate in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri – Rolla. In 2017, Dr. Cudney received the 2017 Yoshio Kondo Academic Research Prize from the International Academy for Quality for sustained performance in exceptional published works. In 2014, Dr. Cudney was elected as an ASEM Fellow. In 2013, Dr. Cudney was elected as an ASQ Fellow. In 2010, Dr. Cudney was inducted into the International Academy for Quality. She received the 2008 ASQ A.V. Feigenbaum Medal and the 2006 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineering Award. She has published six books and over 65 journal papers. She holds eight ASQ certifications, which include ASQ Certified Quality Engineer, Manager of Quality/Operational Excellence, and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, amongst others. She is a member of the ASEE, ASQ, IISE, and the Japan Quality Engineering Society (JQES).

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The number of students attending community colleges that take advantage of transfer pathways to universities continues to rise. Therefore, there is a need to engage in academic research on these students and their attrition in order to identify areas to improve retention. Community colleges have a very diverse population and provide entry into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, regardless of student high school preparedness. It is essential for these students to successfully transfer to universities and finish their STEM degrees to meet the global workforce demands. This research develops a predictive model for community college students for degree completion using the Mahalanobis Taguchi System and regression. Data collected from a Midwest community college over a five-year period in three specific associate degree programs will be used for the study. The study identified 92 students that completed a STEM degree within three years, while 730 students were not able to complete the degree within that period or at all. The research illuminates specific areas of concern related to community college students and better informs transfer institutions about this important sector of transfer students. Especially revealing is the important predictive factors traditionally found in research for STEM retention had very low correlation for this set of community college students. This research reinforces the need to investigate community college students more closely and through a different lens.

Snyder, J., & Cudney, E. A. (2018, June), A Retention Model for Community College STEM Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29719

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