Asee peer logo

Maximizing Academic And Professional Success

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Unique Courses & Services for Freshmen

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.897.1 - 9.897.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Catherine Blat

Download Paper |

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

Session #: 3453

Maximizing Academic and Professional Success: Building Student Learning Communities That Lead to Engineering Excellence

Catherine Blat, M.S.E., Patricia Tolley, M.S.M.E., P.E. The William States Lee College of Engineering University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Eight years ago, The William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte acknowledged the existence of a retention problem. At the time, the College did not have a formal mechanism in place to measure retention but it was obvious that graduation rates were down and the proportion of underrepresented minority graduates was shrinking. There was no assessment process in place to identify at what point students dropped out, where they were going, why they were leaving, and what could be done to reverse the trends. An innovative solution was needed – one that would satisfy the needs of the diverse student population in a growing, urban, public institution striving to expand its mission to include a sizeable research agenda. Any proposed solutions would also have to be integrated with the ABET EC 2000 criteria, yet be flexible enough to adapt to a changing academic, economic, and political environment. In addition, a drastic culture change was needed. The mentality that students “sink or swim” still lingered, there was considerable skepticism about the cost/benefit of student support programs, and students were accustomed to a competitive environment that awarded individual rather than team success. In addition, limited resources meant that whatever was implemented needed to be credible, sustainable, and productive. Hence, several “student learning communities” have been implemented that are designed to provide a successful learning environment, which attracts and retains qualified students.


The Lee College of Engineering Learning Communities programs focus on activities that promote the formation of learning communities. According to Love and Tokuno1 students in learning communities: • Take the same classes. • Form study groups for their courses. • Spend time socializing outside class. • Share strategies for success.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Blat, C. (2004, June), Maximizing Academic And Professional Success Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13466

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: © 2004 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