June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.417.1 - 10.417.15
Designing a Freshman Program to Support Student Success Robin A. M. Hensel, Jack Byrd, Jr., Warren R. Myers, College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, West Virginia University
Abstract The WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has implemented several programmatic changes to the freshman year experience in an effort to support students in their attempt to attain the College’s high academic standards and to improve retention of students from the freshman to the sophomore year. This paper describes several of these program modifications, presents an analysis of the data indicating the results of these changes, and makes recommendations for further study.
The changes made to the freshman program include the creation of two engineering tracks, a traditional track for those prepared to enter Calculus 1 in the first semester of their freshman year and a second engineering track designed for those students not prepared to enter Calculus 1 in their first semester, the development of a freshman orientation class, the requirement of participation in weekly study lab sessions, the implementation of a five-day Calculus 1 course comprised of three lectures and two recitations, and the enforcement of the requirement to attain a C or better in calculus before entering a specific engineering discipline major. The orientation class teaches freshman academic success skills and includes weekly communication with students’ parents.
Data trends in the last two years indicate that these changes had a significant effect on the retention of engineering students from their freshman year to the sophomore year and improved the freshman class GPA. Analysis of academic performance data has also indicated additional areas for continued improvement in placing and advising students, as well as in supporting and tracking student success.
Introduction Attracting and retaining qualified students is essential to surviving and thriving in current enrollment-driven environments. The WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has implemented several programmatic changes to the freshman year experience in an effort to support students in their attempt to attain the College’s high academic standards and to improve retention of students from the freshman to the sophomore year.
Benchmarking/Baseline Data In the academic year 2000/01, of the 447 incoming freshmen, the median SAT-Math score was 590 and the median ACT-Math score was 26. At that time, West Virginia had not yet implemented its PROMISE Scholarship program; there was no freshman orientation course and no College-sponsored academic support. Freshman retention, defined as the percentage of freshmen who transferred to a discipline major or to sophomore status at the end of the second semester, was 66.7%; the average GPA of freshmen engineering students was 2.48; and 48
Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Myers, W., & Byrd, J., & Hensel, R. (2005, June), Designing A Freshman Program To Support Student Success Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14521
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