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Board # 142 : Measuring the Factors Associated with Student Persistence in the Washington State STARS Program

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Katherine C Tetrick Washington State University

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Katherine directs the STARS program at Washington State University. She obtained her bachelors in mathematical sciences from Montana Tech of the University of Montana in 2013 and her masters in mathematics with a teaching emphasis from Washington State University in 2015.

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John B. Schneider Washington State University

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John Schneider is an associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. He has been with WSU since 1991. He conducts research in the areas of acoustics, optics and electromagnetics; wave propagation and scattering; computer solutions to electromagnetic and acoustic problems; and remote sensing. He has received the Reid Miller Teaching Excellence award from the College and has been the EECS researcher of the year. He was the recipient of a prestigious U.S. Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. In 2012, he was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), where he was recognized for contributions to the field of computational electromagnetics.

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Charles Pezeshki Washington State University

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Charles (Chuck) Pezeshki is the Director of the Industrial Design Clinic in the School of MME at Washington State University. The Industrial Design Clinic is the primary capstone vehicle for the School and focuses on industrially sponsored projects with hard deliverables that students must complete for graduation. His research area is in knowledge construction as a function of social/relational organization.

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As the state of Washington continues to face a shortage of qualified workers needed to fill jobs in STEM-related fields, Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Washington (UW) continue to partner to increase the number of engineering and computer science graduates through the Washington STate Academic RedShirt (STARS) Program. Adopting the “redshirt” term from athletics, where student athletes will defer their playing eligibility for one year to improve their skills in the sport, STARS gives students from academically and economically disadvantaged backgrounds an additional year of support as they begin their pursuit of a degree in engineering or computer science. (Despite use of the term “redshirt,” the program is independent of athletics.) Modeled after the University of Colorado’s GoldShirt Program, the STARS program provides engineering and computer science students with scholarship support, specialized curriculum, intrusive advising, and a supportive community.

While student performance in math and science courses can be correlated with retention in the college of engineering, this correlation does little to inform about practices and mindsets that help retain those students. Students may receive passing grades in their math and science courses but do not utilize the tutoring offered by STARS. Some students appear to be enticed to the STARS program for scholarship support, but may not be enthusiastic about the social aspect of the program and yet they perform acceptably well academically. Others hit a wall, usually a failed exam or tough professor, and want to give up. However, the students who take advantage of the resources offered by STARS, take part in activities within the college of engineering, and display a “growth” mindset persist to a higher degree than students who do not. In the past, this was observed in largely an anecdotal manner. In this work, we discuss the development of a rubric for measuring the awareness and utilization of resources, level of activity in the college of engineering, and change in a “growth” vs. “fixed” mindset. This rubric will provide insight as to what behaviors and activities are most impactful in terms of student persistence.

Tetrick, K. C., & Schneider, J. B., & Pezeshki, C. (2017, June), Board # 142 : Measuring the Factors Associated with Student Persistence in the Washington State STARS Program Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27757

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