June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Two Year College Division
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology documented the need to prepare more than 1 million additional STEM professionals in the U.S. workforce over the next decade, primarily through efforts to increase retention rates and diversify pathways. One pathway that has received strong emphasis from the current administration, in particular because of its potential to create new opportunities to diversify engineering, is the transfer pathway between two-year and four-year institutions. In addition to adopting a guided pathways model to move students logistically from one institution to another, offering multiple kinds of student support to facilitate smooth and successful integration into their new educational environments is critical. This paper draws on data from a study funded by the National Science Foundation that investigates how engineering transfer students navigate this pathway. It specifically investigates how to support transfer students by analyzing open-ended survey responses from 1,070 students and alumni who successfully transferred into engineering at one of two four-year, predominantly white research universities. The survey items asked students to indicate the factors that helped them adjust to their new institutional environments and brainstorm ways that their previous and receiving institutions could have helped ease their transitions. We follow an open coding approach for each response and identify themes that emerge across students. Relevant to this division in particular, we also disaggregate students following vertical (i.e., transfer from a two-year to a four-year institution) versus lateral (i.e., transfer from a four-year to a four-year institution) transfer paths to demonstrate how students identified different support needs as a function of their pathway. This analysis will help four-year institutions in particular recognize that students matriculating from two-year institutions have a unique set of needs and should not be lumped in with a more general consideration of “transfer students.” Our future work will compare students’ responses in this institutional sample to students who transferred into Hispanic-serving institutions as well as investigate differences across subpopulations of students (e.g., Hispanic versus non-Hispanic, first-generation versus non-first generation). Findings will help institutions to: 1) better understand challenges that transfer students face as they transition into engineering at four-year institutions, and 2) make more informed adjustments to their existing transfer processes.
Davis, K. A., & Ogilvie, A. M., & Knight, D. B. (2017, June), Easing engineering transfer students’ transitions: Recommendations from students who successfully navigated the transfer pathway Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28194
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