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Increasing Student Success In Engineering And Science Through A Freshman Enrichment Program

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

FPD1 - Early Success and Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.739.1 - 13.739.8



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Paper Authors


Alicia Boudreaux Louisiana Tech University

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Alicia Boudreaux works as the Student Success Specialist at LA Tech University's College of Engineering & Science. She advises and supports students, helping to connect them to resources across campus. She also visits with prospective students and their families about the undergraduate engineering and science programs. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from LA Tech University and an M.S. in Educational Administration from Baylor University.

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Kelly Crittenden Louisiana Tech University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kelly Crittenden received his BS and PhD in BioMedical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University in 1996 and 2001 respectively. He is often involved in multidisciplinary work at Louisiana Tech, either through the Integrated Engineering Curriculum or through the IMPaCT (Innovation through Multidisciplinary Projects and Collaborative Teams) program. He is also very involved in STEM education at both the pre-college and college levels.

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James Nelson Louisiana Tech University

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Dr. Jim Nelson is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. He is also the Robert Howson Professor of Civil Engineering and specializes in water resources. He played a key role in establishing Louisiana Tech’s Integrated Engineering Curriculum and now focuses primarily on STEM education research.

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Galen Turner Louisiana Tech University

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Dr. Galen Turner III is the Maxfield Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Louisiana Tech University. He received his B.S. from Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1992 with majors in Mathematics and Religious Studies. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1994 and 1999 respectively. His current research is in the area of graph minors and computational mathematics as related to a number of interdisciplinary areas of study. In addition to research collaboration, Dr. Turner has served as an educational consultant for centers in Texas and Louisiana, and he is an active member of the Leadership Team for Undergraduate Programs at Louisiana Tech University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Increasing Student Success in Engineering and Science through a Freshman Enrichment Program Abstract Our College of Engineering and Science (COES) has implemented a Freshman Enrichment Program (FrEP) to help meet our overall goal of increasing the number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduates prepared to successfully enter the workforce. Approximately half of the students who enroll in the COES are prepared to begin either our Integrated Engineering Curriculum or Integrated Science Curriculum. The remaining students must complete one or more preliminary mathematics courses prior to enrolling in Calculus. As a consequence, these students must delay beginning several critically important classes which often leads to a full year delay in graduation. Understandably, many students become discouraged. A weak mathematics background, frequently coupled with poor study and time management skills, causes many students to fall further behind, ultimately resulting in withdrawal from the university or a change to a non-STEM degree program. Our overall goal is an annual increase in STEM graduation rates from 220 students per year to a sustainable 300 students per year.

As part of the FrEP, students enroll in a five-week program during the summer before their freshman year. This program consists of a three-credit-hour college algebra course, enrichment topics, and an optional three-credit-hour general education course. Enrichment topics for the summer program include study skills, time management, career decision making and acclimation to the University. In addition, the students participate in many community-building activities, both structured and unstructured. The summer program, as a whole, establishes consistent expectations of the intensity of college life and creates an immediate place of fit when the students return in the fall. The FrEP project, supported by NSF STEP and S-STEM grants, continues to provide scholarships for these FrEP students through their freshman year. Our Integrated Curricula are structured such that students register for a block of core classes, and the S-STEM student cohort comprises one of these blocks. Throughout the academic year, student mentors are assigned to this cohort to conduct Supplemental Instruction sessions each week.

At present, 85% of this initial FrEP cohort has been retained in a STEM discipline. Data from the previous three years show an average freshman to sophomore STEM retention rate for a similar cohort of 59%. These students also have displayed more confidence, positive attitudes, respect, and a greater understanding of the demands of college life.

Introduction Louisiana Tech University’s STEM Talent Expansion Program (LaTechSTEP) has two major components that will yield increased numbers of graduates in STEM disciplines. One component focuses on recruitment of new students, while the second component increases retention. The Freshman Enrichment Program (FrEP) described in this paper focuses on recruiting and retaining students who have demonstrated academic potential but likely would not be successful in a STEM degree program without significant student development support.

According to the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2004, enrollment in undergraduate engineering and science programs decreased sharply during the 1980s,

Boudreaux, A., & Crittenden, K., & Nelson, J., & Turner, G. (2008, June), Increasing Student Success In Engineering And Science Through A Freshman Enrichment Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3322

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: © 2008 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