June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.170.1 - 8.170.8
Advisors and Mentors: Their Role in the Retention and Success of Chemical Engineering Students
Dana E. Knox
Otto H. York Department of Chemical Engineering New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ 07102
This paper will discuss a variety of changes that have been implemented in the way students have been advised and mentored over the last several years in the chemical engineering department at NJIT. These changes have included: use of a single person to advise all undergraduates; institutionalization of certain feedback mechanisms; introduction of a freshman orientation course in chemical engineering; several changes in the course registration process; follow-up letters and advisement sessions in certain cases; faculty and student mentoring; and a variety of other changes as well. The motivation for each change is discussed, together with a brief summary of how it was implemented. Survey data, together with statistical, as well as some anecdotal, evidence as to the success or failure of these changes is presented and discussed, with particular attention paid to student retention and success.
At one point, the advising process for chemical engineering students was extremely poor. From the student perspective, each semester he/she was assigned an advisor for that semester. Advisors were assigned alphabetically in order to ensure that no one faculty member was “burdened” more than another. As a result, students could have a different advisor every semester. Students had to seek out their advisor at registration time; advisors never contacted students. In order to be able to register for classes, students need their advisor’s signature on the appropriate form. Most advisors merely signed whatever the student showed them, offering little or no advice. This form was then submitted to the registrar’s office, which then allowed the student to register for their selected courses. The system was easily circumvented, as no one in the registrar’s office could be expected to be familiar with the signatures of every faculty member.
Matters not related to course registration were often neglected. In theory, students were able to consult their advisors about these other matters, but the typical faculty member was (and still is) poorly equipped to deal with matters such as financial aid, problems with professors or other students, work problems or other personal problems. Also in theory, advisors were to oversee “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”
Knox, D. (2003, June), Advisors And Mentors: Their Role In The Retention And Success Of Chemical Engineering Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12140
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