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Board 106: Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Large-scale Interventions in a First-year Experience Program

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32177

Download Count

11

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Paper Authors

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Gustavo B. Menezes California State University, Los Angeles

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Menezes is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Cal State LA. His specialization is in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. Since becoming part of the faculty in 2009, Menezes has also focused on improving student success and has led a number of engineering education projects. He is currently the Director of the First-Year Experience program at ECST (FYrE@ECST) and coordinates engineering education activities at the college of engineering, computer science and technology (ECST). He has also developed an open access, web-based audience response system (educatools.com).

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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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Gisele Ragusa University of Southern California

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Gisele Ragusa is a Professor of Engineering Education at the University of Southern California. She conducts research on college transitions and retention of underrepresented students in engineering and also research about engineering global preparedness and engineering innovation. She also has research expertise in STEM K-12 and in STEM assessment. She chairs USC's STEM Consortium.

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Eva Schiorring StemEval

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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. She presently serves as the external evaluator for four NSF-funded projects. These include evaluation of a first year experience in a majority-minority engineering college and an initiative to increase diversity in a predominantly white elite engineering college through collaboration with local community colleges. Ms. Schiorring is also evaluating an ATE project to bolster recruitment and preparation of diverse STEM teachers. 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. She is a graduate of NSF's I-Corps program for educators.

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Paul S. Nerenberg California State University, Los Angeles

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Dr. Paul S. Nerenberg is currently an Assistant Professor of Physics and Biology at California State University, Los Angeles. He received his PhD in Physics from MIT and has a strong interest in improving the quality of introductory physics education, particularly for students who enter college with little or no previous physics coursework.

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Abstract

In this Work-in-Progress paper, we report on the challenges and successes of a large-scale First-Year Engineering and Computer Science Program at an urban comprehensive university, using quantitative and qualitative assessment results. Large-scale intervention programs are especially relevant to comprehensive minority serving institutions (MSIs) that serve a high percentage of first-generation college students who often face academic and socioeconomic barriers. Our program was piloted in 2015 with 30 engineering students, currently enrolls 60 engineering and computer science students, and is expected to grow to over 200 students by Fall 2020. The first-year program interventions include: (i) block schedules for each cohort in the first year; (ii) redesigned project-based introduction to engineering and introduction to computer science courses; (iii) an introduction to mechanics course, which provides students with the foundation needed to succeed in the traditional physics sequence; and (iv) peer-led supplemental instruction (SI) workshops for Calculus, Physics and Chemistry. A faculty mentorship program was implemented to provide additional support to students, but was phased out after the first year. Challenges encountered in the process of expanding the program include administrative, such as scheduling and training faculty and SI leaders; barriers to improvement of math and science instruction; and more holistic concerns such as creating a sense of community and identity for the program. Quantitative data on academic performance includes metrics such as STEM GPA and persistence, along with the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) for physics. Qualitative assessments of the program have used student and instructor surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews to measure relationships among factors associated with college student support and to extract student perspectives on what works best for them. Four years of data tell a mixed story, in which the qualitative effect of the interventions on student confidence and identity is strong, while academic performance is not yet significantly different than that of comparison groups. One of the most significant results of the program is the development of a FYrE Professional Learning Community which includes faculty (both tenure-track and adjunct), department chairs, staff, and administrators from across the campus.

Menezes, G. B., & Allen, E. L., & Ragusa, G., & Schiorring, E., & Nerenberg, P. S. (2019, June), Board 106: Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Large-scale Interventions in a First-year Experience Program Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32177

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