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Facilitating the Success of Academically Under-Prepared Students

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2019 FYEE Conference


Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

M1C: WIP - Readiness and Professional Development

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Anetra Grice Western Michigan University

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Anetra Grice is has served as the STEP Program Director for Western Michigan University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences since 2010.

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Edmund Tsang Western Michigan University

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Edmund Tsang is Emeritus Associate Dean and Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Western Michigan University. He received a B.S. with distinction in Mechanical Engineering from University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in Metallurgy from Iowa State University. Dr. Tsang's current professional interests include integrating service-learning into engineering, and student success and retention.

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Matthew Cavalli Western Michigan University

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Dr. Cavalli is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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This abstract is for a work-in-progress paper. From 2004 through 2018, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at a midwestern university received funding through various iterations of the NSF STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program) to improve retention and student success. A cohort model was implemented that now covers over 95% of incoming first-year students in the college. Members of each cohort have almost identical schedules for the first two semesters in the college. Student services, including tutoring, a living-learning community, and one-on-one student interventions, were implemented. Results have shown significant increases in first-to-second year retention as well as graduation rates. However, students entering the college at the low end of the mathematics spectrum, in particular, continue to be retained and succeed at a much lower rate than first-year students in general. This cohort of students tends to have a higher proportion of underrepresented minority students and a higher portion of students with financial need. It has also been the fastest growing portion of the first-year student class for the past several years. This paper discusses past, current, and planned efforts to increase the success of incoming first year students at the lower end of the mathematical skill spectrum. Suggestions are welcomed regarding both specific interventions as well data that might be the most effective in judging success. Potential collaborators working with similar student groups are also sought to investigate outcomes across multiple campuses.

Grice, A., & Tsang, E., & Cavalli, M. (2019, July), Facilitating the Success of Academically Under-Prepared Students Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--33693

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