Asee peer logo

Enhancing Retention and Academic Success of Undergraduate Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.662.1 - 26.662.23



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Anant R. Kukreti University of Cincinnati

visit author page

ANANT R. KUKRETI, Ph.D., is Director for Engineering Outreach and Professor in the Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati Ohio, USA. He joined UC on 8/15/00 and before that worked 22 years at University of Oklahoma. He teaches structural mechanics, with research in steel structures, seismic analysis and design, and engineering education. He has won five major university teaching awards, two Professorships, two national ASEE teaching awards, and is internationally recognized in his primary research field.

visit author page


Temesgen Wondimu Aure University of Cincinnati

visit author page

TEMESGEN W. AURE, Ph.D., is the STEM Program Coordinator working under Dr. Kukreti on the NSF Type 1 STEP and S-STEM Projects in the Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Temesgen joined UC as a graduate student in 2008 Fall and completed his doctoral degree in Civil Engineering in 2013. He started working on his current position at UC in January 2014.
He plans, designs, evaluates and modifies programs supported by the NSF Type 1 STEP and S-STEM Grants in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This paper presents programs, achievements and lessons learned for a NSF STEP Projectexecuted during 2008 to 2014 (6 years). The two primary goals of the project are: (1) Increaseand retain to completion the number of women and underrepresented minority students in thefields of Engineering; (2) To create the best environment for studying and performing researchso that they become well prepared for graduate education and the rigors of the ever-changingglobal market. These goals are achieved by implementing following three key strategies: cohortbuilding, networking, and pathway to graduate school. In the paper first the programsimplemented for each strategy are presented followed by results documenting their impact onretention, graduation and advancement. At the end, the accomplishments and the challengesfaced are highlighted. The cohort building targets building productive academic relationships among students,between students and faculty, and between students and the university administration – allimplemented academic success. This is achieved by implementing Summer Bridge ScholarsProgram with ALEKS prior to freshman year to develop the academic and social skills necessaryfor achieving academic excellence; cohort course scheduling; and supplementary collaborativelearning math and science courses during freshman year to further strengthen the academic skillsand “learning community” created. The networking strategy includes experiences which providethe skills for students to work and communicate in small or large groups, and to interact withpeers, faculty and professionals in ways that will benefit both their academic and professionalcareers. The experiences included in the networking strategy are: academic assessment andmonitoring through two course instructor progress, degree program advising and STEP advisorreports per semester documented in an E-Portfolio for recording participation, tracking progressand early intervention; 3-4 monthly socials/semester to discuss academic strategies for success;15 hours/semester of volunteer K-12 outreach community service; and industry mentoring forstudents on-track for graduation. The pathway-to-graduate school strategy integrates allpromising engineering undergraduate students into the College’s scholarship – such asconducting research, presenting the findings, and creating a portfolio for graduate schooladmission with financial support. It includes a research immersion opportunity in an eight-weeksummer REU program; an expanded Academic Year REU program; research training seminarsand workshops on conducting and disseminating research and preparing for graduate school; anda Research Forum to present their research. Results for course grade performance and annual retention rates for the studentsparticipating in the STEP project are presented for the last six years and compared to comparatorpeer Engineering and Applied Science Entrance (EASE) and non-STEP students. EASEprogram was started in 2010 to provide access to engineering and technology degrees to studentswho do not qualify for direct admission to a degree program. The outcomes of the projectinclude: higher success rate of STEP students in freshmen math and science courses; highergrade point average (GPA) of STEP students; and higher retention rate of STEP students fromone year to the next than their peers. A total of 167 (17 repeated twice) engineering studentshave participated in STEP REU programs.

Kukreti, A. R., & Aure, T. W. (2015, June), Enhancing Retention and Academic Success of Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24000

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