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Identifying At-risk Freshmen and Providing Enhanced Advising Support Through Intrusive Academic Advising Interventions

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

First-year Programs Division Postcard Session 1: Retention and Student Success Strategies

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Jeremy C. Helm Arizona State University

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Jeremy Helm is the Director of Academic Administration and Student Success in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. In this capacity, he oversees the schools' policies and processes related to academic standards; admission standards; curriculum implementation; advising services; first year programming and student support services.

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Tami Coronella Arizona State University

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Tami Coronella is the Associate Director of Academic Administration and Student Success for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. She has worked in advising and advising administration since 2000. Her academic career has been focused at Arizona State University, where she earned a B.S. in Management and an M.S. in Public Administration. She is currently a doctoral candidate for an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation. Her interests include advisor development and assessment along with student retention and persistence.

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Tim Rooney Arizona State University

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Work in progress This work in progress describes an effort to identify at-risk freshmen and provide enhanced advising support through intrusive academic advising interventions.

Motivation In the report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies identified the key roles innovation and competitiveness play in ensuring the prosperity of the United States (U.S.) economy within the world. Both innovation and competitiveness depend upon the knowledge capital of highly qualified and diverse college graduates to work in STEM fields. However, the U.S. education system is failing to produce sufficient college graduates to fulfill the emerging, rapidly growing job demands within STEM fields.

Brief background on the problem Our institution provides a breadth and depth of student support resources designed to improve freshman retention, yet retention rates of freshmen in engineering remained flat, year over year. New approaches for addressing retention are needed. Data was gathered on engineering students not retained to the university after one year from the past three years (2014, 2015, and 2016) first-time freshman cohorts. Analysis of the data indicated certain academic and engagement measures were predictors of attrition. Furthermore, the analysis uncovered the opportunity to refine intrusive advising principles. Research on the impact of intrusive advising reflects a connection between successful academic advising and an increase in student retention and graduation rates. Through the requirement of mandatory advising for freshmen, advisors and students can collaboratively develop strategies for engagement with resources that will promote academic success. Theories and research focusing on academic advising approaches and student engagement guide advising discussions. Theory being used to address the problem Alexander Astin developed the Theory of Student Involvement (TSI) model. With respect to academic advising effectiveness, Astin suggests “...that a particular curriculum, to achieve the effects intended, must elicit sufficient student effort and investment of energy to bring about the desired learning and development”. From TSI emerged the “I-E-O Model”, which describes the influence of inputs and environment on outputs. The inputs include a student’s high school GPA, SAT or ACT score, and his/her demographics. These inputs are useful in making admissions decisions. The environment describes the institutional policies, engagement opportunities, and student body. A student’s involvement in purposeful and appropriate activities in his/her environment is a key factor in degree completion. The outputs are the institutional measures of retention and graduation rates. An academic advisor can serve as the communication channel for identifying appropriate and purposeful activities in which a student may engage. Strayhorn applied the I-E-O model as a framework for assessing student engagement with advising activities. Findings indicated a positive correlation with interventions that enhanced student learning outcomes and institutions should consider programs which brought students together and supported learning such as peer study groups, peer mentors, and social outreach. Academic advisors act as critical guides for students to become involved with those specific activities which increase engagement in the academic environment. Methods/assessment This study explores quantitative data on student behaviors, actions, and engagement. Data points include course enrollment or withdrawal, participation in certain programs (such as tutoring, orientation, pre-college activities), and receipt of academic warnings from faculty. Appropriate descriptive and inferential statistical analysis will be conducted during the semester in relation to the number of students enrolled from fall 2017 to spring 2018 as well as fall 2017 to fall 2018. Additionally, data from the students enrolled as freshmen in fall 2015 and fall 2016 will be considered. Results (or anticipated results) Ultimately, the goal of the intrusive outreach is to realize a significant improvement in freshmen retention after one year as a result of intrusive academic advising interventions. Data from the previous and current freshman classes will be used to determine where intervention should occur in future terms.

Helm, J. C., & Coronella, T., & Rooney, T. (2018, June), Identifying At-risk Freshmen and Providing Enhanced Advising Support Through Intrusive Academic Advising Interventions Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30592

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015