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Circ Les: A Comprehensive First Year Program For Entering Engineering And Science Students

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.267.1 - 6.267.14



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Paper Authors

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Benjamin Flores

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Walter Fisher

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Pablo Arenaz

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Connie Della-Piana

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1237

CircLES: A Comprehensive First-Year Program for Entering Engineering and Science Students

Connie Kubo Della-Piana, Pablo Arenaz, Walter Fisher and Benjamin C. Flores

The CircLES Program and the Model Institutions for Excellence Program1, The University of Texas at El Paso, TX 79968

Abstract The current paper describes a comprehensive first-year program for all entering engineering and science students that has been implemented at The University of Texas at El Paso. Designed to meet the educational and developmental needs of entering students attending an urban commuter campus, CircLES links a mandatory summer orientation and advising with a required first year engineering or science oriented learning community for the purpose of increasing student success and persistence toward graduation. Emphasis is placed on developing an environment in the first year in which students learn to be successful college students and begin the development of lifelong learning habits. This paper describes the rational, goals, and the structure of the program, results of the pilot and institutional scale-up, lessons learned, and challenges facing the movement of students from an entering students program to departmental programs. Retention rates and student feedback indicate that the program is accomplishing the short-term outcomes of increasing retention rates and providing students with experiences designed to increase their success and progress into the major.

I. Introduction

Increasing the retention rates and the success of students in engineering and science have become growing concerns for engineering and science programs across the nation. Historically, students in the Colleges of Engineering and Science at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) have returned after one year at a rate slightly above the institutional one-year retention rate (~66% regular admissions university-wide 1997 Student Cohort). However, the six-year graduation rate for students in the sciences and engineering is generally lower than the rest of the institution. In the past, pre-engineering and pre-science students, many who are not calculus-ready, have been over-looked by engineering and science programs. During their first year at UTEP, they have relied on university-wide advising and taken general education courses with no interaction with faculty and staff in the Colleges of Science and Engineering. In an effort to address these issues, the Colleges of Engineering and Science with the support of the National Science Foundation Model Institutions for Excellence Program have instituted an innovative

1 The Model Institutions for Excellence Program at The University of Texas at El Paso is supported by the National Science Foundation (HRD/EEC 9550502).

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Flores, B., & Fisher, W., & Arenaz, P., & Della-Piana, C. (2001, June), Circ Les: A Comprehensive First Year Program For Entering Engineering And Science Students Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8994

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