New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
NSF Grantees Poster Session
Baton Rouge Community College/Louisiana State University: A Partnership for STEM Student Success
This STEP Type 1B project enhances the existing partnership between Baton Rouge Community College STEM Division and Louisiana State University College of Engineering to foster students’ completion of Associates Degrees at BRCC and Bachelor of Science degrees at LSU. Particular emphasis is placed on Engineering and Construction Management (E/CM) disciplines for which BRCC & LSU have recently formalized articulation agreements.
One project goal is to increase the number of BRCC AS/AAS E/CM graduates by five per year to an annual rate of 25 students, all with strong academic foundations for further E/CM study at LSU. At LSU, the goal is to improve the overall 2nd-3rd year retention and ultimately improve the cumulative 6th year graduation rate by 2-3% per year so that it approaches the current university average for all entering freshmen (59%). Building upon the lessons learned from the first STEP grant, these goals will be accomplished through the following actions: 1) development and implementation of a pre-engineering learning community at BRCC; 2) integration of supplemental instruction/academic support in core STEM/Engineering courses at both institutions; 3) provide opportunities for faculty development and engagement across institutions; 4) provide the environment and training necessary to develop mentoring relationships between students (particularly transfer students entering LSU); and 5) establish mechanisms for effective monitoring and continual improvement.
This project is about to complete its third year, and we are on track to achieve these goals and objectives. A pre-engineering learning community at BRCC–consisting of informal study groups and newly formed E/CM student organizations–has been developed, and both institutions have incorporated successful supplemental instruction programs. At BRCC, SI is offered in the engineering courses as well as in physics, math, and chemistry. Students who regularly attend SI sessions (four or more) in these courses are 31% more likely to pass compared to students who don’t attend any sessions. SI is also offered in several sophomore-level gateway courses at LSU with a 20% increase seen in passing rates when regular attendance is compared to no attendance. Three joint faculty development workshops have been offered, giving faculty members and SI Leaders at both institutions opportunities to improve their active learning strategies and to build relationships. Leadership development of students remains strong through the peer mentor program at LSU, and four Transfer Career Day programs have been held to acclimate transfer students into the university with 91 participants to date.
The number of AS/AAS E/CM graduates at BRCC has grown by over five students on average per year since the beginning of the project. At LSU, students who participate in some facet of STEP are 8-13% more likely to be retained from their second to third year than students who do not participate. Currently the 6-year graduation rate at LSU is also 8-11% higher for STEP 1A participants than non-participants. We will continue to monitor the overall retention and graduation rates as the granting period progresses. In addition to retention and graduation analyses, two psychology PhD students and an outside evaluator have conducted surveys and focus groups to ascertain the impact of this project on faculty and students.
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