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Bridging the Gap in Transition of Students from Community Colleges to Universities

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Two-Year College Division Transfer Topics Part I

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.251.1 - 23.251.13



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Paper Authors


MD B. Sarder University of Southern Mississippi

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Dr. Sarder is an associate professor and program coordinator of the industrial engineering technology program at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). He is also an assistant director of the center for logistics, trade and transportation. At the USM, he revamped his program by developing as many as fourteen new courses, implementing hands on experience in courses, and delivering online courses for distant students. Dr. Sarder is very active in engineering and technology education research. He has published a book and more than fifty articles in various areas of industrial engineering. He is involved with editorial and professional society activities including ASEE. He is the editor in chief of the International Journal of Logistics & Transportation Research.

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Bridging the Gap in Transition of Students from Community Colleges to UniversitiesTransition of students from Community Colleges (CC) to universities is a major issue for manyuniversities including our university in Mississippi. This problem is severe in engineering andtechnology programs compared to non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering andMathematics) programs. Universities and local community colleges need to work collaboratelyto improve that situation. Few years ago, our Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) programhad less than 33% students who were coming from local community colleges. A significantportion of these IET students were part-time and/or non-traditional, and took longer than thetraditional four years to graduate. Approximately, 20% of these IET students failed to graduatebecause of financial, motivational, and family or job related problems. To improve that conditionwe had taken a huge initiative to bolster the transition and retention of our students. It is worthyto mention that no other states in the US have the same level of desperate need as Mississippi toincrease its STEM degrees. A September 2011report published in Industrial Engineer Magazinereveals that Mississippi ranked the lowest in preparing STEM students.As part of the initiative, we implemented several programs such as Let ‘em Know, Inter-Institutional Visits, Portfolio Tracking, 2+2 consortium, and Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL).Our Let ‘em Know program, (which is similar to the Catch the Dream program implemented atLake Michigan College) focuses on increasing transfer rates from CC to our university. Let ‘emKnow program provides first year STEM students with four year degree guidance regardless ofinstitutional enrollment. The Inter-institutional visits guided ET students during their second yearat the CC. Each semester our IET faculty visited all our local seven CC campuses. Providinguniversity faculty as guest speakers has proven an effective tool for student motivation. ThePortfolio Tracking tracks the progress of CC students across coursework, targeting STEMspecific 4 year accreditation objectives, beginning in their freshman year. These portfolios werereviewed across campuses, providing individual feedback for every student. The portfolios weretargeted to increase retention of underrepresented minorities and female students by providingdirect support and encouragement to them. The 2+2 Consortium laid the foundation of effectivetransition. The Peer Led Team Learning sessions were an effective way to engage large numbersof students with in-depth course material within a group work environment. While all of theseprograms had positive impacts on transition and retention, Portfolio Tracking and 2+2consortium had the most impact among others. This paper will discuss those program designs,implementation plans, and effectiveness of those programs with program data and analysis.

Sarder, M. B. (2013, June), Bridging the Gap in Transition of Students from Community Colleges to Universities Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19265

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