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Board # 64 : The Status of STEM Living Communities

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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

Engineering Technology Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Riley Sevan Harding Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis

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Riley Harding is a recent graduate from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indianapolis (IUPUI). Riley received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision as well as a certificate in Human Resources. She is currently working at John Wiley and Sons as an Associate Editor in Indianapolis. Riley conducted research on this subject for her senior project.

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Patricia Fox Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis

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Professor Patricia Fox is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Communication in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Pat has been a member of the faculty for over 32 years. She has previously served as Associate Chair and Associate Dean in the School. Pat teaches leadership, ethics, sustainability, and study abroad courses. She has held a number of leadership roles in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) including four terms on the ASEE Board as well as serving two times as the Chair of Engineering Technology Council. Pat is a Fellow of ASEE. Her research interests include sustainability and study abroad education.

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Charles McIntyre Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis

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Charles McIntyre is a Professor and Program Director of the Construction Engineering Management Technology Program at Indiana University Perdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He received a Ph.D. from Penn State in 1996. Prior to joining IUPUI, he was a faculty member and former chair in the Department of Construction Management and Engineering at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Dr. McIntyre’s current research includes sustainable construction, green building, and industry-academic collaborations. He is an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Council for Construction Education. Dr. McIntyre has served on the ASEE Board of Directors and is an ASEE Fellow.

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Terri L. Talbert-Hatch Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis

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Terri Talbert-Hatch, Ed.D.
Associate Dean for Recruitment, Retention, and Student Services
Purdue School of Engineering & Technology, IUPUI

Dr. Talbert-Hatch oversees the Student Services Office with responsibilities for undergraduate student recruitment and engagement, K-12 programming, career services, residential-based learning communities, scholarships, and student government for the School of Engineering and Technology. She works very closely with current students. She is responsible for the Commitment to Engineering Excellence program which is a university funded program that provides scholarships and research funding for underrepresented students in engineering and engineering technology programs. Dr. Talbert-Hatch is also a Co-PI on a recently funded NSF STEM grant that provides scholarships, academic support, and career planning for 2nd year students with unmet financial need who are enrolled in engineering programs.

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In traditional and non-traditional universities, many campuses have developed activities around the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) umbrella, one of which is called STEM living communities. Living communities are on-campus housing arrangements that bring together students, who are majoring in similar types of fields or majors, such as the STEM disciplines, in one residential location. Students who choose to reside in these living communities share similar interests and majors and because of their proximity to each other are more likely to go through the same educational and campus life experiences together. The overall purpose of these living communities is to stimulate greater educational success through academic and social endeavors. Smith indicates that students who choose to be involved in STEM learning communities receive additional perks and benefits compared to commuter and Greek students, which are specifically designed to help students develop positive academic and social relationships (2015). Wai-Ling states that STEM learning communities create an environment that promotes positive learning through small classroom sizes, programs, constant peer interactions, and face-to-face time with faculty members and mentors (2012). One of the features that makes STEM living communities special compared to other groups living together are that they allow students to continue their learning experience outside of the classroom environment by surrounding students with their STEM classmates, in addition to giving students constant contact with STEM faculty members, which extends the learning experience. Working together, students and faculty members have the opportunity to form a strong bond, students can share personal feelings, allowing faculty members to listen and become aware of how to best assist the student with his/her learning goals (Golde & Pribbenow, 2000; Eighmy & Frazier, 2012).

A national pilot study was conducted to identify: what activities STEM living communities conduct to retain students; determine how well STEM students are doing socially and academically; discover what programs are being offered to students at STEM living communities; discover how involved faculty members are in living communities; and the status of STEM freshman programs at different universities. This paper will identify the status of STEM living communities from the pilot study and it will take a look at a new STEM living community developed this year.


Eighmy, M., & Frazier, W. (2012). Themed Residential Learning Communities: The Importance of Purposeful Faculty and Staff Involvement and Student Engagement. Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts.

Golde, C., & Pribbenow, D. (2000). Understanding Faculty Involvement in Residential Learning Communities. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Smith, R. (2015). Magnets and Seekers: A Network Perspective on Academic Integration inside Two Residential Communities. Ohio State University.

Harding, R. S., & Fox, P., & McIntyre, C., & Talbert-Hatch, T. L. (2017, June), Board # 64 : The Status of STEM Living Communities Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27897

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