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Helping Students find the Right Track: A Partnership for Student Success

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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 5: Transitions and Student Success, Part I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.658.1 - 23.658.7



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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Anne Stephan Clemson University

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Dr. Elizabeth Stephan is a faculty member in the General Engineering Program at Clemson University. She earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron, and worked as a Production Engineer at Dow Chemical in Traverse City, MI. She is the District Director for Tau Beta Pi and Chief Advisor for SC Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi.

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Christine C Murphy Clemson University Academic Success Center

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Dr. Murphy holds a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology and a BS degree in Math, both from Clemson University. She has served as the Special Programs Coordinator for the Academic Success Center at Clemson University since February 2007, with a leadership role for data analysis and assessment of ASC programs. She has 21 years of experience in the data processing and analysis field, and 14 years of experience in higher education. She coordinates the workshop program for the Academic Success Center, has taught the undergraduate university skills course to incoming students, and facilitates a graduate seminar course on BioComplexity.

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Helping Students find the Right Track: A Partnership for Student SuccessThe Academic Success Center at ______ University offers workshops, supplemental instruction,tutoring, a university skills course, academic coaching and counseling to academically engagestudents. Previous data compiled by the Academic Success Center indicated a statisticallysignificant increase in classroom performance, freshmen to sophomore retention rates, andscholarship retention by students who use academic support services.The General Engineering (GE) Program at _____ University is designed to introduce students tothe various engineering disciplines from both an academic and professional prospective. Allengineering students at _____ University begin their academic journey as a general engineeringmajor and are required to complete a first year curriculum sequence before declaring theirintended engineering major. This first year sequence includes two engineering courses, one ineach semester.As students make the transition from high school or another college, they are often unaware ofthe requirements for success at a new institution. A program was developed to encourage use ofthe services offered by the University and to promote academic engagement among first year GEstudents.Starting in the fall of 2009, students enrolled in the freshman engineering course sequence couldearn up to 2% bonus on the final course grade by completing a variety of tasks centered onparticipation in academic support services and exploration of choosing a major. This programpromotes “pro-active bonus”, where students are taking part in support services before theybegin to fail the course. It is different than “re-active bonus”, the last minute desperation attemptby students to boost their grade in the final week of the course. Students must be participating inactivities over the course of the entire semester to earn the full bonus credit.Preliminary results indicate a significant increase in attendance at the academic skills workshops.In 2011, between 70% - 80% of the students attending workshops were enrolled in GE courses.During the Fall 2011 semester, students in the first semester engineering course who participatedin workshops achieved statistically significant higher (using a 2-sample heteroscedastic T-testwith α=0.05) semester and cumulative grade point ratios (GPR), as well as a higher course gradeaverage than those students who did not participate in workshops. These GE students attendedon average 2.5 workshops and finished the first semester with a GPR 0.4 grade points higher(3.22 versus 2.82) than those who did not attend any workshops. This GRP becomes significantfor in-state students, as almost all in-state students at ____ have a state scholarship that requires aminimum 3.0 GPR to maintain each year.This paper will explore the details of the “pro-active bonus” program and present a detailedanalysis of all three academic years. Student participation in this bonus option, the subsequentparticipation in academic support services both during and after the student is in the GE program,and the resulting academic performance for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 academic terms will beanalyzed.

Stephan, E. A., & Murphy, C. C. (2013, June), Helping Students find the Right Track: A Partnership for Student Success Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19672

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