Salt Lake City, Utah
June 20, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 23, 2004
9.897.1 - 9.897.18
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. https://peer.asee.org/13466
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