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Constructing Community, Content, and Confidence (C3) to Enhance First-Year Success and Retention

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2014 ASEE International Forum


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 14, 2014

Start Date

June 14, 2014

End Date

June 14, 2014

Conference Session

Track 1b - Session 1

Tagged Topic

Curriculum and Lab Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

20.9.1 - 20.9.7



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Paper Authors


Steven M. Pilgrim Alfred University

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After six years in R&D, Dr. Pilgrim joined the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He is now a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Clinical Instructor of Science Education, and a Certified HS Educator in Chemistry. He serves as an ABET Evaluator with professional interests in STEM outreach, education, and ferroelectric materials.

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Constructing Community, Content, and Confidence (C3) to Enhance First-Year Success and RetentionThe modern engineering cohort is much more diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender,preparation, and expectations than in previous years. This creates various challenges forengineering programs in terms of both student outcomes and retention. One approach tothese challenges is presented here: a first-semester zero-credit seminar for allengineering students. The seminar seeks to build a foundation for student success inengineering, or elsewhere within the institution. The underlying premises and activitiesreflect national data and an understanding of adolescent development. Seminar is apartially flipped classroom with diverse activities that engage four types of students in C3.These types are generally described as: I) discipline-informed and motivated, with agenerally strong student skillset, II) motivated with a generally strong student skillset, III)motivated with a generally weak student skillset, and IV) poorly motivated with avariable skillset. The seminar successfully addresses the issues and needs of each group.It reinforces Group I without being perceived as “onerous busy work” whilesurreptitiously providing C3. Group II profits from discipline specific information and asGroup I. Exposure to content and confidence are the prime outcomes for Group III.Reflection Assignments are of greatest value for Group IV wherein they build confidencein their choice and capability. Assessment reveals that the zero-credit first-semesterseminar has been successful.

Pilgrim, S. M. (2014, June), Constructing Community, Content, and Confidence (C3) to Enhance First-Year Success and Retention Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17172

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