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Board 224: Brownian Motion or Intentional Engagement? Addressing Practical Obstacles Between Two- and Four-Year STEM Transfer Institutions

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Conference

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--42657

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/42657

Download Count

136

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Paper Authors

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Michelle Maher University of Missouri, Kansas City

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Dr. Michelle Maher explores STEM transfer student partnerships between two- and four-year institutions and higher education access and equity issues.

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Darran Cairns West Virginia University

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Darran is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University.

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Reagan Curtis West Virginia University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1873-1744

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Reagan Curtis, Ph.D., is Derrick Endowed Professor of Educational Psychology and founding director of the Program Evaluation and Research Center at West Virginia University.

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John Kevern University of Missouri, Kansas City

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Jacob M. Marszalek Ph.D. University of Missouri, Kansas City

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Education: Dr. Marszalek received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Statistics and Measurement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006.

Teaching: Dr. Marszalek teaches undergraduate quantitative statistics and graduate courses in S

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Kathleen O'Shea

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Carol Nicole Pflum Longview Community College

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ANTHONY WEISS

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Anthony Weiss is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering with a co-discipline in Education, Leadership, Policy, and Foundations at UMKC. Prior to this he received his BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Pittsburg State University in 2016 where he also was a student-athlete participating in Cross Country and Track and Field. He went on to get his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2019 from UMKC and then completed his Masters in Mechanical Engineering in 2020. He also worked for an engineering design firm in Kansas City for 6 years as a data scientist and design engineer and is a licensed P.E. in the state of Missouri.

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Abstract

“We assumed a lot about our engineering transfer partnership when we started our S-STEM project. We now know our preconceived notions only lightly orbit the current reality.” This sentiment has become our project team’s mantra as our NSF DUE (Division of Undergraduate Education)-funded S-STEM Scholarship program, which supports the transfer of low-income civil and mechanical engineering students, enters its third operational year. We assumed we had a solid engineering transfer student partnership between Midwest Community College (MCC, pseudonym) and Midwest City University (MCU, pseudonym). However, the MCC engineering coordinator’s recent retirement challenged this assumption and forced us to reflect on the realities of the MCC-MCU transfer partnership. Our informal reflections revealed several practical obstacles we have encountered in facilitating transfer engineering students’ baccalaureate attainment.

Further, our informal reflections have spurred collaboration with our grant’s external evaluator to formally investigate MCC and MCU team members’ perceptions of practical obstacles and how to address them. This investigation will initiate and conclude in spring of 2023. Thus, both informal reflections and formal investigation about practical obstacles will inform our proposed poster, and both are guided by Eddy and Amey’s (2014) strategic partnership model for educational institutions. This model highlights factors critical to developing educational partnerships, including economic goals and strategic use of resources. In the below, we use these factors to identify two practical obstacles and solutions derived from our reflections. While these examples are necessarily brief to accommodate abstract proposal length limitations, we will provide full consideration of all factors identified in both our informal and formal investigations in the poster and accompanying paper.

Economic Goal: MCC and MCU must recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students. However: • MCU is one of many four-year institutions in a multi-state area, most of which compete for MCC transfer engineering students. • MCC has no driving motivation to encourage its engineering students to transfer to MCU.

Possible Solution: Most MCC engineering students who transfer to a four-year institution do so without earning a MCC associate’s degree. However, from the state government’s perspective, every MCC student who transfers without earning an associate’s degree is an economic and political ‘loss’ for MCC. MCU could easily ensure that every MCC transfer engineering student earns an associate’s degree while completing their MCU bachelor’s degree. Bottom line: Helping your educational partners stay economically viable is essential to maintaining the educational partnership.

Strategic Use of Resources: Currently, MCC advisors offer transfer guidance to MCC engineering students interested in transferring to MCU. • Both MCC and MCU advisors are well versed in engineering transfer logistics, but they do not have an engineering background. • MCC engineering faculty are well versed in engineering, but they are usually short on time and are not rewarded for advising.

Possible Solution: MCU engineering faculty are expected to provide service to MCU as part of their annual evaluations. Provide them with an opportunity to meet with MCC engineering students interested in transferring to MCU to help these students identify a transfer pathway. These students want to hear from actual engineers. Hold the meeting(s) on the MCU campus to welcome MCC students to campus and help them envision their place on this campus. Bottom line: Even though the MCC and MCU campuses are geographically close, to a MCC student, MCU is another world away. Get them on campus talking with an engineering faculty early in their transfer journey.

Our proposed abstract title is “Brownian Motion or Intentional Engagement?” We use the NSF grantee poster opportunity to facilitate a candid discussion around how we (and others) can catalyze intentional engagement between two- and four-year educational partners in the engineering transfer process.

Eddy, P. L., & Amey, M. J. (2014). Creating strategic partnerships: A guide for educational institutions and their partners. Stylus Publishing.

Maher, M., & Cairns, D., & Curtis, R., & Kevern, J., & Marszalek, J. M., & O'Shea, K., & Pflum, C. N., & WEISS, A. (2023, June), Board 224: Brownian Motion or Intentional Engagement? Addressing Practical Obstacles Between Two- and Four-Year STEM Transfer Institutions Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42657

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