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Implementation of a new student initiative: Promoting Student Success and Well-Being

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ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference


Waco, Texas

Publication Date

March 24, 2021

Start Date

March 24, 2021

End Date

March 26, 2021

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Nina Kamath Telang University of Texas at Austin

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Nina Telang is an associate professor of instruction in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She received the B.Tech degree in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai in 1989, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1992 and 1995 respectively. Her teaching interests are in the area of circuits and devices, computing, and logic design. Dr. Telang works closely with success programs for freshman engineering students.

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Nisha Abraham University of Texas at Austin

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Nisha Abraham coordinates the Supplemental Instruction program. She received her B.S. in cell and molecular biology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007, her M.S. in biology from Texas A&M University in 2012 and her M.A. in STEM Education from The University of Texas at Austin in 2019. Additionally, she has over ten years of industry, science and educational research experience, has worked as a senior bioscience associate at UT’s Austin Technology Incubator, and has served as an adjunct faculty member in biology for South University.

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Althea Louise Woodruff University of Texas at Austin

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Dr. Althea Woodruff is the coordinator of the Well-being in Learning Environments initiative at the University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorn Wellness Center and Counseling and Mental Health Center. On this project, she collaborates with UT faculty and administrators to embed wellness practices across colleges and departments and in classrooms, office hours, and other learning contexts. She also lectures and works at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk in the College of Education.

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In this paper we will describe a multi-faceted initiative we have implemented to promote student success and well-being in the student community of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at our university. This program has been implemented for about 3 years in partnership with the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) and the Sanger Learning Center. Both of these centers provide services for all university students, although the objective of this initiative was to tailor their services to the specific needs of engineering students.

This program incorporates three components designed to target a specific audience and to address specific student needs: 1. A supplementary course titled “Enhancing Academic Success”: This is a 1-credit hour (elective) course taught by one of the authors who is an engineering professor and taken primarily by students on academic probation or those in their first and second years who are interested in learning how to learn and be successful in their engineering coursework. The purpose of this course is to examine many of the components necessary to enhance academic success in engineering. The topics covered fall into three categories: (i) Mindset, motivation, self-regulation, and dealing with academic emotions; (ii) Goal-setting, self-discipline, and time management; and (iii) Learning strategies, test preparation, post-exam analysis. 2. A student success and well-being Canvas course available to all students (graduate and undergraduate) in our department: This Canvas course offers modules designed by mental health professionals and learning specialists. It has not only facilitated the distribution of these helpful resources but has also provided a platform for all our students to come together in a virtual setting. With the sudden shift to online instruction due to COVID-19, having this course enabled online discussions and informal virtual gatherings. 3. Workshops on specific topics led by two of the authors: These workshops are designed to cover topics that address learning strategies and good practices to follow to enhance success in coursework, as well as practices to foster well-being. Topics covered so far are (i) Motivation, Self-Regulation, and Metacognitive Strategies; (ii) How to foster Self-Care; (iii) Procrastination and how to deal with it; and (iv) Resilience and taking stock of your grades.

For each component, we will provide a rationale, the process for implementation, and student outcomes we’ve documented so far.

Telang, N. K., & Abraham, N., & Woodruff, A. L. (2021, March), Implementation of a new student initiative: Promoting Student Success and Well-Being Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas.

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