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Evaluation Of Support Programs For Underserved Populations In Engineering

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Exploring Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.596.1 - 14.596.25

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Paper Authors

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Jeong Hwan Choi University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Jacob Marszalek University of Missouri, Kansas City

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Assistant Professor
Counseling & Educational Psychology
University of Missouri-Kansas City

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Joyce Lee University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Susan Linnemeyer University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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

Evaluation of Support Programs for Underserved Populations in Engineering ICE – Illinois Connections in Engineering SAGE – Student Assisted Guidance in Engineering

I. Introduction

Engineers are key personnel to maintain or promote economic growth and create jobs through innovation in a society 1. However, engineers experience difficulties in transition or socialization in multiple stages of their academic and professional career 2-5. Especially, first-year engineering students are exposed to more critical environmental changes and discrepancies of identity 6, 7. Unsuccessful transitioning into rigorous engineering education context induces low retention of first year engineering students. The National Science Foundation 8 reports that only 60% of students who enter engineering disciplines obtain an engineering degree. Some engineering colleges provide special support services to increase the retention of first-year engineering students 7, 9. In addition, particular high attrition rate of underrepresented groups in engineering, e.g., female and minorities demand the exploration of alternative support options in transition 10, 11 . In the transition process of their first year at college of engineering, new engineering students are influenced by academic performance (GPA), social interactions with peers and faculties as well as family, support programs, pre-college characteristics, innate personalities, and perception toward engineering. 7, 10-15.

The purpose of this study is to identify and understand the effects of support programs to academic performance and retention in the first year. The study also seeks explanation as to how support programs affect perception of change toward engineering disciplines by conducting pre- and post assessments and focus group interviews.

A. Support Programs of University of Illinois

Illinois Connections in Engineering (ICE) program

The College of Engineering in University of Illinois hosted the Illinois Connections in Engineering (ICE) summer bridge program during summer of 2007. The purpose of ICE is to provide students who are entering the College of Engineering with the skills and knowledge necessary for academic success. The target group is underserved populations in engineering, i.e., women, minorities, first-generation students, and students from low-sending counties. We are cognizant of the fact that not all students are prepared equally for the rigors of an engineering education at the University. Through participation in this six-week intensive program with instruction in the core subject areas and academic success strategies, we hope to provide a “level playing field” for the fall semester.

The criteria for admission to ICE are: 1. All students with ACT-M < 27, 2. Females and minorities with ACT-M < 28, or

Choi, J. H., & Marszalek, J., & Lee, J., & Linnemeyer, S. (2009, June), Evaluation Of Support Programs For Underserved Populations In Engineering Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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