June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.693.1 - 26.693.13
Evaluation of a hybrid first year student advising programA College of Engineering at a mid-size public university in the mid-Atlantic region is changingits first year student advising system after a relatively rapid increase in its student population.The college admitted approximately 150 engineering first year students annually between 2000and 2010. Starting in 2011, larger first year classes were admitted, growing to approximately 380first year students in Fall 2014. Future classes are expected to remain in the 375 to 400 studentrange.Before Fall 2014, all first year students were advised entirely by faculty. A relatively highfaculty-to-student ratio and strong faculty commitment contributed to successful advising, asmeasured by high retention from the first to second year (93.4 %) and a high four and six-yeargraduation rate (55 and 73 %, respectively). As student numbers grew, so did concern about theability of the faculty system to provide sufficient advising. In Fall 2014 a hybrid system wasadopted in which one professional staff member is responsible for advice on course sequencing,college/university policies and procedures, scheduling and campus resources for all first yearstudents. Faculty members continue to provide information and guidance related to industry-driven competencies and career information. The hybrid system also includes more onlineresources, including student quizzes and an advising Wiki.To provide feedback that can be used to guide and improve the new advising system, twosurveys were directly incorporated into the ebook used in the introduction to engineering coursetaken by all first year students The PathFinder website has been used to provide the ebook andon-line quizzes and homework for all sections of the first year course since Fall 2012. In Fall2014, two quizzes were added related to advising. The first quiz, administered in October shortlybefore course registration, prompts students to consider and evaluate their need for and use ofuniversity resources, e.g., advising, career management assistance, tutoring, etc. The secondsurvey, administered at the end of the semester, asks students to reflect on how they useduniversity resources during their first semester.The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the new hybrid advising system. This will beaccomplished using: (1) the two online quizzes; (2) direct observations by the professionaladviser; (3) a focus group with select students at the end of the semester; (4) a survey of thefaculty advisors; and (5) analysis of student retention from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015.
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