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Enhancing Retention and Achievement of Undergraduate Engineering Students

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

FPD 2: Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.533.1 - 23.533.30



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Paper Authors


Anant R. Kukreti University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Anant R. Kukreti, Ph.D., is Director for Engineering Outreach and Professor in the School of Energy, Environmental, Biological and Medical 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.

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Kristen Strominger University of Cincinnati - School of Energy, Environmental, Biological and Medical Engineering

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Kristen Strominger is the STEM Program Coordinator working under Anant Kukreti on the NSF Type 1 STEP Project in the School of Energy, Environmental, Biological and Medical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC). Kristen completed her master’s degree in Higher Education, Student Affairs at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida previous to beginning her position at UC in July 2012. She plans, designs, evaluates and modifies programs supported by the NSF Type 1 STEP Grant in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

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Urmila Ghia University of Cincinnati

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Enhancing Retention and Achievement of Undergraduate Engineering StudentsAbstract This paper presents key implementation strategies and their impact for improvingretention and student success for engineering undergraduates. The strategies include: cohortbuilding, networking, and pathway to graduate school. Cohort building includes building productive academic relationships among students,between students and faculty, and between students and the university administration. Thecohort building strategies implemented include Summer Bridge Scholars Program, cohort coursescheduling, and collaborative learning. The Summer Bridge Scholars Program includescultivating academic interdependence, night study sessions, and instructors and staff weeklymeetings to track progress and success in collaborative learning groups. Cohort coursescheduling includes Summer Bridge Scholars Progam academic year course recommendations,and math and science freshmen course registration as cohorts. Thus, long-term affiliations areformed. The networking strategies include: monthly socials; instructor progress reports; STEPadvisor meetings; and an industry mentoring program for ethnic underrepresented students. Themonthly socials bring students together to: meet representatives from the university faculty, andindustry; discuss academic strategies for success; learn about co-op opportunities; investigateundergraduate research experience options; explore the option for graduate school; and connectwith each other. The progress reports provide: an opportunity to meet instructors, periodicfeedback on student performance, and an opportunity to develop long-term relationships withinstructors for obtaining research opportunities and recommendation letters. The STEP Advisorquarterly meetings facilitate discussion on instructor reports, course work, special opportunitiesfor community engagement, and personal and academic concerns. The industry mentoringprogram provides an opportunity for students to interact with engineering professionals to: assistin their overall academic and professional development; and help students to understand theeducational and career related skills needed for a successful engineering career. The pathway to graduate school strategies include: a research immersion opportunity inan eight-week summer REU program; an expanded two-quarter long REU program; researchtraining seminars and workshops on conducting and disseminating research and preparing forgraduate school; and a 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 four years and compared to respectivepeer cohort non-STEP students. The outcomes of the project include: higher success rate ofSTEP students in freshmen math and science courses; higher grade point average (GPA) ofSTEP students; and higher retention rate of STEP students from one year to the next than theirpeers (82% for STEP Cohorts 1, 2 and 3 vs. 74% for College). A total of 92 engineeringstudents have participated in STEP REU programs. The main challenges experienced incoordinating and student participation in various programs are also discussed in the paper.

Kukreti, A. R., & Strominger, K., & Ghia, U. (2013, June), Enhancing Retention and Achievement of Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19547

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