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Closing the Gap: Using Supplemental Instruction as a Tool to Assist Minorities in Engineering

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Student Division Diversity and Persistence Related Technical Session

Tagged Division

Student

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28042

Download Count

70

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Paper Authors

biography

James Blake Gegenheimer Louisiana State University STEP

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James Gegenheimer is an MSME Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at LSU. James is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He will be stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Utah. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. through the Air Force and work with the Air Force Weapons Research Laboratory.
James is currently the Supplemental Instruction Coordinator at LSU for the College of Engineering. He also served as a Supplemental Instructor in Thermodynamics for over three years. He has worked to improve how STEM college students learn through the use of active learning.

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biography

Charles Algeo Wilson IV Louisiana State University

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Charles is a PhD student in Environmental Sciences at Louisiana State University. In 2012, he earned his master’s degree in Medical and Health Physics and has since been working towards a PhD. During his studies, he has worked actively with the LSU STEM Talent and Expansion Program and LSU Center for Academic Success helping with different methods that aim to improve how STEM college students learn including tutorial centers, PLTL, SI, and recitation programs.

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biography

Adrienne Steele Louisiana State University

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Adrienne Steele has over 18 years experience in STEM education. Currently, Adrienne works at Louisiana State University, managing all aspects of the STEP project that consists of a large-scale peer mentoring program in the College of Engineering. Previously, she founded and coordinated the Scope-On-A-Rope Outreach Program (SOAR) in the Department of Biological Sciences, where she worked for 10 years. Prior to her positions at LSU, Adrienne was the Science Education Curator at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge. Adrienne has a Master of Science degree in zoology from LSU, where she studied in the Museum of Natural Science collections, and an Education Specialist Certification in science education.

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Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Undergraduate Program Director and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean in the College of Engineering (2004-2014), he acquired significant funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development of effective learning and teaching pedagogies.

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Abstract

Supplemental Instruction (SI), an active learning module in which undergraduate students hold optional sessions outside of lecture, has been shown to have great success at the College of Engineering (CoE) at Louisiana State University (LSU) when implemented into large enrollment courses that have a high likelihood of the student receiving a D, F or W. Previous research has shown that SI gives significant benefit to all students who participate, including above average and students from underrepresented groups. Minority students often face disadvantages when taking these courses due to a weaker educational background or sense of belonging. Programs that are inclusive of all diversity groups have been successful in raising the performance of at-risk students to the same level as their peers. Combining active learning into these programs can have further benefits as well; this has been shown by the U.S. Department of Education, Redish and Longfellow. The goal of this research is to study the effects of SI and how this program may impact minority students, who make up 16.2% of the student population. Without incentivizing students, the SI program at LSU has found that ethnic minority students (defined here as African-American, Hispanic and Asian) have utilized SI more than Caucasian students. Students from all minority groups who do not participate in SI have a lower chance of passing a course than Caucasian students with no attendance in SI sessions, but as attendance increases, the gap between passing rates steadily decreases to a statistically indistinguishable amount for Hispanic and Asian students. Although African-American students continue to underperform compared to Caucasian students with SI attendance, they show the largest gains in passing rates of any group (34% increase). Further analysis between genders and socioeconomic status found that female and low-socioeconomic students attend sessions at a slightly higher rates than males and students of high-socioeconomic status. Females perform higher with regular session attendance, whereas they perform near equal to that of males with no session attendance. It was found that low-socioeconomic students underperform with no session attendance with the gap closing to within 2.8% of course passing rates once attending SI regularly. Although this program has been shown to positively impact engineering course success for all students in LSU’s CoE, it is clear that SI is even more beneficial for underrepresented groups. SI is in essence closing the gap for minority students by helping them to overcome academic hurdles in an open, non-discriminatory environment.

Gegenheimer, J. B., & Wilson, C. A., & Steele, A., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2017, June), Closing the Gap: Using Supplemental Instruction as a Tool to Assist Minorities in Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28042

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