June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
College Industry Partnerships
24.275.1 - 24.275.8
CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Promoting Student Success through Cohort-Building and Industrial EngagementFunded by a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, the CLEAR Scholars in Engineeringprogram provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership and career development toundergraduate students with demonstrated potential to succeed in engineering, but who facesignificant financial challenges, possibly in combination with other barriers to meeting their fullacademic potential, such as being a first-generation college student or a member of anunderrepresented group. Students enter the CLEAR Scholars program as sophomores; this levelis chosen as the point of intervention both because students will have already completedfreshman-level coursework, demonstrating preparedness for engineering, and because theresources offered by this program help bridge the gap between the strong foundation of academicand social support offered by freshman programs and the career development support that manystudents do not engage with until the junior or senior year. In addition to scholarship support,CLEAR Scholars are provided with an intentional set of activities that promotes studentretention, achievement, and persistence to graduation through: (a) Community-building througha cohort model; (b) Leadership and career development; (c) Engagement with industry; (d)Advising through mentoring; and (e) Resources for academic success (hence the acronymCLEAR). The ultimate goal of this project is to produce engineering baccalaureate degreegraduates with lower student loan indebtedness and greater preparation for post-degree roles.Although the program is still in its early stages, so far it is on-track to meet its stated goals. Ofthe nine students who entered the first CLEAR Scholars cohort in Fall 2012, all nine remain intheir chosen engineering majors and are making good progress toward graduation. This is astrongly positive outcome for a cohort that includes four 1st-generation college students as wellas four students who are members of underrepresented ethnic groups. We have leveragedconnections in the Dean’s Industrial Advisory Council for the School of Engineering andTechnology to engage industry leaders in our monthly cohort activities, which last year includedan industry-led workshop on Leadership in the Workplace and an extensive site visit toRaytheon. In part as a result of these experiences, our Scholars have been proactive in seekingout industrial internship and co-op opportunities: two participated in internships or co-ops inSpring 2013, and another two are participating in Fall 2013. We present our early results andlessons learned from the process of getting this program off the ground, as well as our plans forcontinued growth.
Alfrey, K. D., & Hundley, S., & Talbert-Hatch, T. L., & Russomanno, D. J. (2014, June), CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Promoting Student Success through Cohort-Building and Industrial Engagement Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20166
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