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An Integrated First-Year Experience at ECST (FYrE@ECST)

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Monday Potpourri

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27573

Download Count

16

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Paper Authors

biography

Gustavo B. Menezes California State University, Los Angeles

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Menezes is an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering Department at CalStateLA. Since becoming part of the faculty in 2009, Menezes has focused on improving student success and has participated in several teaching workshops, including one on “Excellence in Civil Engineering Education” and another in “Enhancing Student Success through a Model Introduction to Engineering Course.” He is currently the PI of TUES project to revamp the sophomore-year experience at the college of engineering (esucceed.calstatela.edu) and the PI/Director of the First-Year Experience (FYrE) program at ECST. He has also developed an open access, web-based audience response system (educatools.com).

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Deborah Won California State University, Los Angeles

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Deborah Won is an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. Her specialization is in Biomedical Engineering and her scientific research area focuses on neuro-rehabilitative technology. Her educational research interests include use technology and active learning strategies to better engage students in the classroom as well as pedagogical and advisement approaches to closing the achievement gap for historically under-represented minority groups.

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Mark Tufenkjian California State University, Los Angeles

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Dr. Tufenkjian is Chair of the Civil Engineering Department at Cal. State LA. His research interests include advanced geotechnical laboratory testing and in-situ testing of soft clay soils. His research has been funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Department of Defense. He is currently the PI on a STEM grant from ONR to provide engineering students pathways to careers at Navy Labs in the southern California region.

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Emily L. Allen California State University, Los Angeles

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Emily L. Allen, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles. She earned her BS in metallurgy and materials science from Columbia University, and her MS and PhD in materials science and engineering from Stanford University. She previously served as faculty, chair and Associate Dean at San Jose State University's College of Engineering. Dr. Allen believes in a collaborative, student-centered approach to research, education and academic administration and leadership. She currently serves on the ASEE Engineering Deans Council Executive Board, the ABET Academic Affairs Council, and chairs the ABET Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.

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Eva Schiorring Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges

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Eva Schiorring has almost two decades of experience in research and evaluation and special knowledge about STEM education in community colleges and four-year institutions. Ms. Schiorring presently serves as the external evaluator for three NSF-funded projects that range in scope and focus from leadership development to service learning and experimentation with alternative delivery, including online lab courses. Ms. Schiorring is also evaluating a project that is part of the California State University system’s new initiative to increase first year persistence in STEM. In 2014, Ms. Schiorring was one of the first participants in the NSF’s Innovation-CORPS (I-CORPS), a two-month intensive training that uses an entrepreneurship model to teach participants to achieve scalable sustainability in NSF-funded projects. Past projects include evaluation of an NSF-funded project to improve advising for engineering students at a major state university in California. Ms. Schiorring is the author and co-author of numerous papers and served as project lead on a major study of transfer in engineering. Ms. Schiorring holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.

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Abstract

This complete evidence-based practice paper focuses on a first-year engineering program (FYrE@ECST) that integrates evidence-based interventions. In the United States, less than 40% of incoming engineering freshman will actually complete an engineering degree. At Cal State LA, where more than 65% are from underrepresented groups and the vast majority is first-generation college students, the retention and graduation rates are lower than the national average. For many years, faculty and staff at the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST), Cal State LA, have implemented a number of evidence-based practices in the summer and first-year to help students transition into college and succeed in their engineering program. However, integration and systemization of these interventions have proven to be challenging. The summer bridge program (STEP) was launched in 2008, and comprises a 7-week math boot camp. It has been successful in enabling students to start their Fall term in a higher level math class, but was not enough of an intervention to guarantee future success in the engineering programs. The FYrE program, funded through a grant from the Helmsley Foundation, was implemented in the Fall 2015 to engage the students in the Cal State LA community from the outset, through a comprehensive first-year experience, which integrated a new first-year engineering and technology project-based course; physics and math supplemental instruction workshops led by peer-mentors; an inquiry-based math and physics workshop called Mathemagics; and a professional learning community (PLC) for faculty and staff involved in first-year programs in the college and across the university. Integration was further bolstered by cohorting student participants and through the development and use of a new advising tool known as the Golden Eagle Flight Plan (GEFP), which allows each student and his/her advisor(s) to keep track of the student’s academic progress, career development and community engagement. The 32 FYrE students (treatment group) were compared to a concurrent, matched Control Group (CG-2) of 33 students from the same entering class who participated in the summer bridge program but none of the other FYrE interventions; and a historical Control Group (CG-3) with 33 students from the previous year who participated in the previous version of the summer bridge program. Students from all 3 groups started in Calculus I during their first Fall term, after participating in STEP. We compared academic outcomes (i.e. STEM grades and GPA) and progress towards major (number of math and physics courses completed) for treatment and control groups. Self-efficacy surveys, focus groups and interviews with students, faculty and staff were conducted to assess the various components of the program by exploring its critical aspects through the lenses of all parties involved. Initial results of assessment show very positive signs of improvement in terms of grades and progress-to-degree. In terms of progress-to-degree, 72% of the FYrE cohort completed 3 quarters of math in their first year. By comparison, 30% of CG2 and 27% of CG-3 students completed 3 quarters of math during their first year. For physics, about 60% of the FYrE cohort completed 2 quarters of physics, while fewer than 5% of CG2 and just over 15% of CG3 students completed 2 quarters of physics during their first year. In summary, the treatment group made more progress toward their major and achieved higher grades in math than students in the two comparison groups, putting them in a better position to complete their degrees.

Menezes, G. B., & Won, D., & Tufenkjian, M., & Allen, E. L., & Schiorring, E. (2017, June), An Integrated First-Year Experience at ECST (FYrE@ECST) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27573

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