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Increasing 2-yr Student Graduation and Transfer Rates through STEM Industrial and Academic Partnerships

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Pamela M Leggett-Robinson Georgia Perimeter College

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Dr. PAMELA LEGGETT-ROBINSON is the Science Department Chair and an Associate Professor of Chemistry on the Decatur campus of Georgia Perimeter College. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Georgia State University and M.S. in Bio-Inorganic Chemistry from Tennessee Technological University. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from Georgia State University in 2003. Dr. Leggett-Robinson is the Principal Investigator of GPC’s $1.5 million NSF STEP grant and continues to work closely with as other STEM committees as well as on graduation/transfer committees. Dr. Leggett-Robinson is published in the Journal of College Science Teachers, Polymer, the Journal of Undergraduate Chemical Research, Heterocyclic Communications, the Journal of Oncology and Hematology, and The Chemical Educator. She has made numerous presentations at both national and regional scientific meetings and has been featured in in a TRIO publication (Council of Education) highlighting “Academic All-Stars”, in the ACS publication In Chemistry, in a Science Education publication from Cornell University, and twice in Georgia Perimeter College’s publication The Chronicle.

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Naranja C. Davis Georgia State University

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Brandi Campbell Villa Belay Consulting

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Increasing 2-yr Student Graduation and Transfer Rates through STEM Industrial and Academic Partnerships Graduation and transfer rates for students attending 2-year institutions and pursuing 4-year degrees are disappointingly low, especially for those students majoring in STEM fields. The development and implementation of successful practices for increasing graduation and transfer rates have been and continue to be challenging for those interested in improving the success of 2-year STEM students on the pathway to their baccalaureate degrees.

In order to address the issue of low STEM retention and transfer rates at our 2-year institution, National Science Foundation funding supported the development of a program in Spring 2012 for 2-year, full-time students, with a minimum 2.8 grade point average, U.S. citizenship or status as permanent resident alien or refugee alien, and majoring in a STEM field of study. One critical pillar of this program was the creation of industrial and academic partnerships in an effort to further engage students to increase degree attainment and transfer in STEM fields.

STEM industrial and academic partnerships were established through STEM industry tours and undergraduate research experiences. STEM industry tours provided students with a first-hand glimpse of today’s STEM industries, assisted students to make the connection between what they learn in the classroom and real world applications of this knowledge, and exposed them to people working in a STEM field. Academic partnerships provided students with an opportunity to engage in a novel “3+8” undergraduate research experience. Students participated in 3 weeks of undergraduate research at the 2-year institution followed by 8 weeks of research at a 4-year institution. Each partnership activity was evaluated to examine the connection between student involvement and their consequent attitude in the following areas: STEM Engagement, STEM Identity and Belonging, and Intent to Persist.

In this paper, we determine the correlation between exposure to real world work environments (STEM industrial and academic partnerships) on graduation and transfer rates of 2-year college STEM students. Results of these efforts are based on feedback from student individual and focus group interviews, results from student surveys after STEM industry tours and research experiences, as well as comparisons of program participants’ graduation and transfer rates with those for the overall STEM student population at this community college.

Leggett-Robinson, P. M., & Davis, N. C., & Villa, B. C. (2016, June), Increasing 2-yr Student Graduation and Transfer Rates through STEM Industrial and Academic Partnerships Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25666

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