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Designing Our Community: A Report On Progress Toward Program Goals Of Recruiting And Retaining American Indian Students In Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Attracting Young MINDs

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.427.1 - 10.427.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Heidi Sherick

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Bridge Program

We recognize that all students often find the transition from their home community and culture to be overwhelming. Native American students in particular often come from smaller rural communities and can find a large campus to be daunting. The first step in our retention program, the summer Bridge Program, is designed to alleviate and smooth the transition for Native American students.

The DOC summer Bridge Program is designed to (1) provide students with a welcome and an introduction to the Native American community within the COE and campus; (2) help them begin to build their campus, academic, and community connections; (3) encourage mentoring, support systems, and networking within the academic community of engineering; (4) provide basic tools and brush-up to help overcome common experiential barriers to academic success; (5) give new students a head start to their college experience, infusing them with confidence and foreknowledge of the college engineering experience.

The Bridge program is offered for new freshmen and transfer students immediately prior to the beginning of Fall semester. Summer of 2004, students received early entrance into their campus housing and dorm rooms, and they attended a full five-day orientation program. Students began by receiving a tour and introduction to labs and facilities in the engineering complex. Mini-courses included demonstrations of engineering design software (AutoCad and ProE) taught by Mechanical Engineering faculty and introduction to computer science taught by Computer Science faculty. Math prep courses reviewed concepts that students struggle with in pre-calculus and calculus. The program included a mini-course in writing as well as introductions to campus support programs such as the writing center. Students also received an orientation on how to access their student records and email accounts on-line. Additional work sessions included information about the campus library, financial aid personnel, study skills including note-taking, time and stress management, test anxiety, and financial management. Campus support program personnel provided programming and information on how to access their services throughout the year. Current and experienced engineering students helped facilitate sessions and served as mentors and role models. The program also included social events with current engineering students in order to help establish our mentor network.

The first year of the Bridge program was held the summer of 2004, and initial evaluation results were promising. The program appears to be meeting its objective of orienting students for their first semester by giving them some academic preparation, introducing them to other students in the program, and introducing them to MSU resources. Students rated all sessions of the Bridge Program on a Likert scale, and the three most useful sessions were math sessions, information about the campus Native American Council and student services, and computer account setup. A majority of the students indicated that the program increased their awareness of MSU resources, saying that they planned to take advantage of those resources autumn semester. The four most frequently mentioned resources that students planned to use were the MSU library, Native American Council and Student Services, and the sports facilities. A math instructor from this summer’s

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Sherick, H. (2005, June), Designing Our Community: A Report On Progress Toward Program Goals Of Recruiting And Retaining American Indian Students In Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14213

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