June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.1049.1 - 26.1049.17
Just-in-Time Support: An Academic-Student Affairs Partnership to Enable Engineering Student SuccessThe current generation of engineering students, the so-called “millennials”, enter college withvastly different experiences and expectations than students 15-20 years ago. The millennialgeneration, also known as Generation Y, has uncharitably been dubbed the “teacup generation”:they are superficially perfect, yet fragile, and they shatter when dropped. Raised and shelteredby helicopter parents, these students present themselves as a rather confusing mix of confidenceand convention, with close familial ties and a sometimes outsized expectation about what theycan achieve. As expectations on the college experience continue to rise, students believe theymust not only excel in their academics, but they must also have a great internship, a life-changing international experience, be the leader of a student organization, and so on. It is worthasking: in what ways do the common characterizations of millennials, along with theirexpectations about the college experience, impact the ways in which institutions provisionstudent support services? And what are the particular facets of their experience as anundergraduate engineering student that fuel their need for support services?This paper reports on an evidence-based practice initiative in a mid-sized engineering schoolwithin a large East Coast public, four-year university. The initiative is composed of a uniquecollaboration between academic personnel (mainly the Associate Dean for UndergraduatePrograms, but also including rank and file faculty) and a student affairs professional (SAP)holding a PhD in Higher Education. The SAP was embedded in the engineering school,physically collocated with the engineering undergraduate office, and served only engineeringstudents (as compared to SA generalists from the Dean of Students Office). The SAP engageswith the Associate Dean, engineering faculty, and other staff as appropriate to provide just-in-time support and crisis management for engineering students experiencing all manner academicand personal challenges. Some of these challenges were mild, yet provokes the teacup response,while other circumstances were genuinely tragic and presented significant challenges to students.In this paper, we report on student outcomes data from the nearly 300 students we served duringthe first year of this partnership.Our findings illustrate three key points. First, the engineering program places unique stresses onstudents that non-engineering students may not experience: the rigor, pace, rhythm, and generalexpectations of the curriculum and the co-curriculum are very significant for engineeringstudents. Moreover, the professional expectations of engineering students (that post-graduation,they will accept a job despite today’s sluggish economy) can be uniquely challenging. Second,the SAP’s physical location and cross-training in engineering-specific issues is crucial toprovisioning effective just-in-time support. We discuss these cross-training efforts and explorehow they impact the SAP’s ability to support students. Third, we describe how student affairsexpertise merges with faculty expertise to provide a comprehensive set of support services forthe student; we contrast this with typical arrangements in which the Dean of Students Office isan “other” for students, not related to their engineering community and often physically locatedwell away from the engineering part of campus. The results of this study illustrate the power andpotential of close academic-student affairs partnerships for supporting engineering students.
Berger, E. J., & Lampe, L., & Caruccio, J. I. (2015, June), Just-in-Time Support: An Evidence-Based Academic-Student Affairs Partnership to Enable Engineering Student Success Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24386
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