June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Women in Engineering
11.354.1 - 11.354.17
The goals of this CPR program are to increase the confidence and academic aptitude of women in their freshman year. Physics was chosen because of its traditionally low appeal to women and because of its place in the freshman engineering curriculum. Desired results are a large participation by freshman women engineering students, a qualitative increase in confidence (both academically and in engineering in general), a quantitative increase in grades, and, over the long run, an increase in the retention rate for women in engineering at Northeastern University.
Freshman Physics Classes
Engineering students at Northeastern take their first physics class in the spring semester of their freshman year, covering the elements of Newtonian physics. This class involves a twice-weekly lecture held in a large lecture hall, a weekly small ILS session where students take quizzes and work on homework, two weekly homework assignments submitted online using the WebAssign program on Blackboard, and a weekly physics lab with lab reports. There are also two major exams: midterm and final.
Connections Physics Review (CPR) program
The CPR program to supplement the required physics course consists of three parts. First, there is a weekly review session taught by two undergraduate students. Second, there is individual one-on-one tutoring available for students, both those who request it as well as for students whose advisors recommend it. Finally, there are two reviews held before the midterm and final taught by an engineering faculty member involved in teaching the weekly freshman engineering physics ILS.
This program has been supported this past year through a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Mentoring (PAESEM) to Professor Sara Wadia-Fascetti at Northeastern University. Thus, major recruitment for the program is for women students, though men are welcomed. Originally, very few men attended the sessions, but the word seemed to spread and, by the end of the semester, between 30 to 40% of attendees were male, especially at the final review sessions. Recruitment largely consisted of posters, both around the engineering school, as well as in the women’s engineering dorm floor (Connections LLC). Emails were originally sent to all engineering women enrolled in physics to invite them to attend, with weekly emails being sent out thereafter. In addition, students deemed to be struggling in physics by their advisors were suggested to attend the sessions.
Weekly Review Sessions
Each week, a physics review session was taught by two undergraduate engineering women students. These students were selected based not only on their knowledge of physics, but also on their interest in promoting and supporting freshman engineering students. Having undergraduates teach the sessions helps to provide a positive role model, someone who had been “in their shoes” and could impart valuable knowledge on how to study for the exams, complete the homework, and succeed in their academic careers. Having two students lead the sessions has proven to be a key, allowing for consistency each week even with their hectic schedules. The student-teachers also attended the physics lectures each week, often sitting in on different
Reisberg, R., & Funai, A., & Interrante, A., & Wadia-Fascetti, S., & Maheswaran, B. (2006, June), Connections Physics Review (Cpr) Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1015
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