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Continuous Improvement in an NSF S-STEM Program

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

26.403.1 - 26.403.14

DOI

10.18260/p.23742

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/23742

Download Count

157

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Paper Authors

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Rob Henry Kinzel

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Robert Kinzel is a graduate student pursuing his M.S. degree in experiential education and M.A. degree in industrial and organizational psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He currently serves as the graduate teaching assistant for the MAX Scholars program. He received his B.A. degree in anthropology and sociology from Centre College in 2005.

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Deborah K. Nykanen Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Deborah K. Nykanen is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She received her Ph.D. degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Her teaching, research and professional experience focus on water resources, hydrology and hydrometeorology. Dr. Nykanen has 14 years of academic experience and is a registered P.E. in Minnesota.

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Rebecca A Bates Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Rebecca A. Bates received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in 2004. She also received the M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1993. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Integrated Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, home of the Iron Range and Twin Cities Engineering programs.

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Winston Sealy Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Winston Sealy received the Ph.D. degree in Technology Management, specializing in manufacturing systems from Indiana State University in 2014. He also holds degrees in electronic engineering technology (B.S., Minnesota State University, Mankato), and technology management - systems engineering (M.S., University of St. Thomas). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology program at Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Rachel E Cohen Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Dr. Cohen received her Ph.D. in Zoology from Michigan State University in 2011. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington before joining the faculty at Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2013. Dr. Cohen is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology.

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Jennifer Veltsos Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Dr. Jennifer Veltsos is an associate professor of technical communication at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She teaches courses in instructional design, research methods, visual communication, technical communication, and business communication. Her research interests include organizational rhetoric, visual rhetoric, ethos and corporate branding, and the gamification of pedagogy.

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Abstract

Continuous Improvement in an NSF S-STEM ProgramAbstractIn conjunction with a National Science Foundation-sponsored scholarship program, we have aninterdisciplinary peer mentoring support system for STEM students that addresses keyprofessional development areas. The students receive financial support and an opportunity todevelop academic, professional and life skills through a weekly scholars seminar. The seminarsfamiliarize scholars with various university support services, allow participation ininterdisciplinary discussions addressing broad academic and career issues, and buildrelationships with other scholars from diverse STEM disciplines. The seminar coursework iscentered on semester-long investigative projects designed and completed by teams, typicallymultidisciplinary ones. A small group of faculty oversees the seminar and selection of scholars.Our approach is to provide faculty mentoring while developing stepping-stone peer-mentoringfor professional development. This structure supports students and helps them developleadership qualities. The recipients, as defined by the program criteria, are diverse: multiplemajors, male, female, nontraditional students, students with different ethnicities, religiousaffiliations, backgrounds, and family structure. By including all eligible STEM majors at ouruniversity, we have been able to increase the number of women recipients, which creates a senseof critical mass to support the women in engineering.In the eight years since the program was founded, it has grown and developed considerably.Structural changes throughout these years include adding distance students in an off-campusprogram 280 miles away, broadening the program to include multiple science majors, funding tosupport a half-time graduate assistant, and staffing changes in the faculty mentors. Programimprovements have included annual retreats for scholars, thematic projects that connect withstudent values and interests (e.g., garbage, water, and energy issues), a focus on ethical conceptsand decision making, the addition of graduate students from our national ranked experientialeducation program, and a faculty mentor from technical communication.The focus of this paper will be on our continuous improvement process, which is based onregular observation and reflection by the students, graduate assistants, and the faculty mentors.Student surveys are conducted at the end of each semester, and informal feedback is gatheredduring large group seminars, individual meetings between students and their mentors, andstudents’ reflection journals. Faculty meet weekly for ongoing planning and also in late spring toreflect on the prior year and begin planning the next. At the beginning of the academic year,faculty decide on a theme for the two semesters; a curriculum for the weekly seminar that allowsfor job and graduate school preparation, goal development, life skills such as budgeting or work-life balance; times for multidisciplinary project work; and an itinerary for the annual retreat..Changes implemented for the current year include that support community development,increase student engagement, promote expert coaching and broader interaction with facultymentors, and develop a sense of mentoring among the faculty mentors, which include senior andjunior faculty, and with the undergraduates. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of studentexperiences will be presented in this paper. Reflections of the improvement process andimplementation by faculty mentors will also be included.

Kinzel, R. H., & Nykanen, D. K., & Bates, R. A., & Sealy, W., & Cohen, R. E., & Veltsos, J. (2015, June), Continuous Improvement in an NSF S-STEM Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23742

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015