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Gateway Into First Year Stem Curricula: A Community College/University Collaboration Promoting Retention And Articulation

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

12.772.1 - 12.772.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2681

Download Count

44

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Paper Authors

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Michele Wheatly Wright State University

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Michele Wheatly (PI) is Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Wright State University. She has had a 25 year history of continuous NSF funding to support her lab research, as well as significant experience directing large projects targeting increasing representation in the STEM disciplines (including the Creating Laboratory Access for Science Students, heralded as one of the most innovative projects in undergraduate STEM curriculum in the US). Her career funding from competitive sources has totaled approximately $10 M. She has approaching 90 peer reviewed articles in the life science and educational domains. She is also CoPI on the first NSF IGERT on Learning with Disability.

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Nathan Klingbeil Wright State University

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Nathan Klingbeil is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Robert J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching at Wright State University. Professor Klingbeil is the lead PI on WSU's NSF funded National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work in engineering education, including the ASEE North Central Section Outstanding Teacher Award in 2004, and the CASE Ohio Professor of the Year Award in 2005.

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Bor Jang Wright State University

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Bor Jang joined WSU as Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science in July of 2005. He had previously served as Chair of Mechanical Engineering at North Dakota State University and as a faculty member at Auburn University. He has extensive experience in the administration of large-scale research and education projects totaling more than $8.0 M in external funding. He is the author of more than 150 peer reviewed articles, and 63 patents issued or currently pending in the areas of nanotechnology and advanced materials development.

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George Sehi Sinclair Community College

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George Sehi has been at Sinclair since 1986 as faculty member, department chair, and now Dean of the EIT division. Dr. Sehi served as an external evaluator for TAC/ABET, the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools, the North Central Association for Colleges and Schools, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. He has been instrumental in securing over $10.5 M in NSF grants for his division.

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Richard Jones Sinclair Community College

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Richard Jones has been at Sinclair Community College since 1977 as chemistry faculty member, department chair, and now Dean of the LAS division. He has been a PI for over $700,000 in grants. Dr. Jones has served as a Board of Trustees member for Exams Institute, Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society and co-Editor of the “NSF Highlights” column for the Journal of Chemical Education.

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

Gateway into First-Year STEM Curricula: A Community College/University Collaboration Promoting Retention and Articulation

Abstract

This paper summarizes an NSF STEP collaboration between Wright State University (WSU) and Sinclair Community College (SCC) to develop a common first-year STEM experience, which aims to increase first-to-second year retention at both SCC and WSU, as well as articulation of STEM majors from SCC to WSU. While STEM attrition is a problem throughout the 4-6 years of college study, the first-year experience (FYE) is most critical to retention of students in STEM disciplines. Thus, a focus on promoting success in the first year will help to ensure that students remain in STEM disciplines, as opposed to switching majors or dropping out. The primary barrier to success in Engineering/Technology is the mathematics “gateway” calculus sequence; the barrier to success in Science/Mathematics is general innumeracy and scientific illiteracy. Prior NSF support of WSU’s National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education has shown that the introduction of EGR 101 “Introductory Mathematics for Engineering Applications,” coupled with a significant restructuring of the early engineering curriculum, has resulted in a significant increase in first-to-second year retention, as well as increased student motivation and confidence in math and engineering. Based on this prior success, the current NSF STEP initiative will: 1) Implement EGR 101 and the associated engineering curriculum reforms at SCC. 2) Develop a companion lab-based class for science majors (Scientific Thought and Method), SM 101/ASE 101, for instruction at both WSU and SCC. 3) Provide professional development opportunities for faculty at both institutions. 4) Train STEM seniors/graduate students to serve as lab/recitation assistants and peer tutors for any introductory STEM classes. 5) Disseminate the curriculum and associated first-year experience. The above educational treatments will make the curriculum substantially more accessible to all incoming students, and particularly to those who have been historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines. This model is therefore highly appropriate for other metropolitan university/community college dyads with similarly diverse enrollments. While this NSF STEP initiative has only just begun, this paper will provide an overview of the motivation, goals and development to date of the program.

Background: The Quiet Crisis in STEM Education

Recent reports from industry groups1 and governmental agencies and commissions2-5 have drawn attention to the looming crisis in US graduation rates in the STEM disciplines. Based on the age of the STEM workforce, the US will face a future shortage of scientists and engineers if the trend of declining 2 and 4-year graduation in STEM disciplines is not reversed. While much of this discourse revolves around K-12 math and science education, significant attention also has been paid to undergraduate STEM education. Seymour and Hewitt6 report that the interest in STEM majors among entering college students dropped from 11.5% in 1966 to 5.8% in 1988. Attrition includes students who are unprepared for the demands of STEM curricula as well as talented undergraduates who choose other disciplines with more creative instructional-delivery methods. A common challenge for K-16 is the goal of demonstrating the

Wheatly, M., & Klingbeil, N., & Jang, B., & Sehi, G., & Jones, R. (2007, June), Gateway Into First Year Stem Curricula: A Community College/University Collaboration Promoting Retention And Articulation Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2681

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