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Implementation of a Guided Mentorship Program in a STEM Community of Practice at a Two-Year College

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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

Diversity and Two-year Colleges part 2

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37296

Download Count

11

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Paper Authors

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Claire L. A. Dancz Clemson University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4359-8041

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Dr. Claire L. A. Dancz is a Research Associate for Education Systems at Watt Family Innovation Center and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. Dr. Dancz’s research interests include faculty development, scholarship of teaching and learning, creativity in higher education courses, conation and the application of striving instincts, sustainable engineering and engineering grand challenges. She leads faculty development for technology-enhanced learning environments through the application of evidence-based teaching practices and the assessment of academic engagement and is an avid practitioner of Universal Design for Learning. Dr. Dancz teaches an interdisciplinary Creative Inquiry course on Conation and Creativity in Education and is the faculty director of Clemson University's National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program. Dr. Dancz is a Kolbe™ Certified Consultant and regularly consults on conation and striving instincts.

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Elizabeth A. Adams Fresno City College

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Dr. Elizabeth Adams teaches full time as an Engineering Faculty member at Fresno City College in Fresno, California. She a civil engineer with a background in infrastructure design and management, and project management. Her consulting experience spanned eight years and included extensive work with the US military in Japan, Korea, and Hawaii. In 2008 Elizabeth shifted the focus of her career to education and academia, later receiving her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Sustainable Water Resources. Her work highlights a commitment to undergraduate engineering education and its improvement through best teaching practices. Her research efforts target ways to support and encourage diversity among students and how to create an inclusive learning environment. Professional interests include undergraduate research opportunities, service learning, STEM outreach, team teaching and learning communities, critical thinking and problem solving, active and experiential learning, teaching teamwork and leadership skills, water resources sustainability, and urban infrastructure sustainability.

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Carol Haden Magnolia Consulting, LLC

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Dr. Carol Haden is Vice President and Principal Evaluator at Magnolia Consulting, LLC, a woman-owned, small business specializing in independent research and evaluation. She has served as evaluator for more than 40 STEM education projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Arizona Department of Education, among others. Areas of expertise include evaluations of engineering education curricula and programs, informal education and outreach programs, STEM teacher development, and climate change education programs.

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Yushin Ahn

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Yushin Ahn received the B. Eng. Degree in civil engineering and the M.Sc. degree in surveying and digital photogrammetry from Inha University, Korea in 1998 and 2000, and the M.sc. and Ph.D. degree in geodetic science from the Ohio State University, Columbus, in 2005 and 2008 respectively. After three years of post-doctoral researcher at Byrd Polar Research Center, he joined Surveying Engineering at Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI for six years.

He is currently an assistant professor of Civil and Geomatics Engineering, California State University at Fresno, CA. His research interests include digital photogrammetry, feature tracking, and sensor calibration and integration.

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Karen Willis Fresno City College

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Karen Willis has been a teaching mathematics at the two-year community college level for 6 years, as well as 3 years at the university level. Karen has several years of experience in tutorial coordinating and tutor training, as well as participating as a faculty mentor for engineering scholars. She loves to foster collaboration in the classroom between students so they can learn to work and grow together.

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Deanna Craig Clemson University

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Civil Engineering Clemson University 2021 graduate

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Abstract

Learning is a social process. For many students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at two-year institutions learning occurs in a spectator role where the learner remains on the periphery, isolated from social connection within courses. This condition can be exacerbated for resource-constrained students who may be forced to choose obligations necessary for sustaining their student status over other options. Lack of connection to others can have lasting impacts on personal association with a subject matter, stunting the development of a student’s STEM identity. Given that identity is a strong predictor of who will or will not succeed in STEM and that mentorship plays a key role in identity formation, educators have an opportunity to contribute to the socialization and integration of students as core members of the STEM community through intentional mentorship.

Communities of Practice (CoP) have been used to authentically engage students in learning-focused groups, enhancing a student’s ability to move from a passive observer to a core community member through legitimate participation. Students that participate in CoP are more likely to persist to the following academic year than their peers because learning communities establish a safe environment to learn, encourages students to take ownership of their learning, and creates a sense of belonging to a larger community elements which validate and support a students’ multiple identities. This is particularly important as research on underrepresented populations underscores the important role that the composite identities of race, ethnicity, gender, income, and first-generation status play in retention and success in STEM. Faculty at two-year institutions are not inherently trained as mentors, however.

The Engineering Scholars Program (ESP), funded by an NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM), is a CoP designed to enhance the community experience of two-year community college students preparing to transfer to a four-year university. The ESP took an unstructured approach to mentoring during Year 1, allowing individual mentors to determine and apply their own mentoring strategies. Research and evaluation results indicated that faculty mentorship during Year 1 increased students’ belonging, encouraged them to persist, helped them manage personal and academic challenges, and empowered students to describe themselves as contributors to the STEM disciplines. Students also reported that mentoring could be improved through additional mentorship structure, increased meeting frequency, and strategic mentorship pairing. When the ESP sought to pivot towards a more formal mentorship approach for Year 2, ready-made materials for a mentorship training program were not available to meet the unique needs of two-year community college faculty mentors whom bring diverse experiences of their own and may not have the same disciplinary background as the students they are mentoring. This paper presents the development and implementation of the ESP’s guided mentorship strategy. We summarize program components designed for two-year community college faculty members and present faculty and peer mentorship impacts as students prepare to transfer to a four-year university and complete their engineering degree.

Dancz, C. L. A., & Adams, E. A., & Haden, C., & Ahn, Y., & Willis, K., & Craig, D. (2021, July), Implementation of a Guided Mentorship Program in a STEM Community of Practice at a Two-Year College Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37296

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