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Impacts of Mentoring on Math and Leadership Self-Efficacy Among Civil Engineering Students

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Mathematics

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37293

Download Count

10

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Paper Authors

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Mary Katherine Watson The Citadel Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1718-5825

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Mary Katherine Watson is currently an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel. She holds BS and MS degrees in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology. She enjoys, and has invested significantly, in the development of her undergraduate students, serving as past faculty advisor for numerous student groups. Dr. Watson is passionate about improving access to engineering education and serves as the faculty director for a scholarship program to recruit and support high-performing, low-income civil engineering students. Dr. Watson is also interested in understanding and assessing students’ cognitive processes, especially development of cognitive flexibility and interactions with cognitive load. Dr. Watson is the proud recipient of seven teaching awards and six best paper awards. She was previously named the Young Civil Engineer of the Year by the South Carolina Section of ASCE and currently serves as a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Civil Engineering Education.

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Tara Hornor The Citadel

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Dr. Tara Hornor currently serves as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Higher Education Leadership Programs at The Citadel. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arizona and master’s degrees in counseling, instructional design, and human resource management.

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William J. Davis P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3812-8654

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William J. Davis is Dept. Head, D. Graham Copeland Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of Construction Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. His academic experience includes: transportation infrastructure planning and design, infrastructure resilience, traffic operations, highway safety, and geographic information systems. His research interests include: constructing spatial databases for better management of transportation infrastructure, improving transportation design, operation, safety and construction, understanding long-term effects of urban development patterns, and advancing active living within the built environment for improved public health. He teaches courses in interchange design, transportation engineering, highway design. engineering management, geographic information systems, and land surveying. He has served in numerous leadership positions in ITE, ASCE and TRB.

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Simon Thomas Ghanat P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Simon Ghanat is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.). He received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Arizona State University. His research interests are in Engineering Education and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. He previously taught at Bucknell University and Arizona State University.

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Abstract

We are engaged in a multi-year project to design and pilot a cohort-based calculus sequence to build self-efficacy and scaffold academic success among civil engineering students. As observed across engineering disciplines and institutions, calculus courses are significant barriers to student persistence. Some researchers have proposed that student math performance is predicted by their beliefs about their math skills (i.e., their math self-efficacy) more so than even their past record of achievement. Among our population of civil engineering students, we have found that students who are retained through sophomore year reported higher math self-efficacy during their first semester of college than those who eventually left civil engineering. During our first cohort’s freshmen year, they completed the Excellence in Civil Engineering Leadership (ExCEL) Calculus Sequence, which includes formal Calculus I and II instruction and support programs aligned with Bandura’s self-efficacy framework. Based on course grades, GPAs, and focus groups, we found that the early calculus courses were indeed mastery experiences that improved students’ math self-efficacy.

In this paper, we will explore changes in self-efficacy among ExCEL students as they participate in a comprehensive training program to mentor at risk-peers. While ExCEL students have entered a mainstream Calculus III course, they are helping to administer a version of the ExCEL Calculus I course to a group of students who are significantly behind in their programs because they received a D, F, or W in more than one math course. ExCEL students are attending the Calculus I course regularly and holding three organized supplemental instruction sessions per week. To support the ExCEL students, a learning strategist is meeting with them weekly to guide them on the fundamentals of effective teaching. Also, ExCEL students are adapting and leading seminars for the at-risk students to connect how calculus concepts are used in civil engineering. We are currently collecting data via published Math and Leadership Self-Efficacy scales to gage the impact of the mentoring experience on our ExCEL students. In addition, ExCEL students will participate in a focus group at the end of the semester to provide feedback on the experience. Based on the results, we will make recommendations for expanding the ExCEL Calculus Sequence.

Watson, M. K., & Hornor, T., & Davis, W. J., & Ghanat, S. T. (2021, July), Impacts of Mentoring on Math and Leadership Self-Efficacy Among Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37293

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