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Peer-led Supplemental Instruction in an NSF STEP Project: The EEES Experience

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD IV: Improving Student Success: Mentoring, Intervening, and Supplementing

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

22.1148.1 - 22.1148.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18711

Download Count

26

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Paper Authors

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Colleen A. McDonough Michigan State University

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Colleen A. McDonough is a graduate research assistant at the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. She is the coordinator of two component projects of a National Science Foundation grant focusing on retention issues and engaging early engineering students, and also serves as an academic advisor. McDonough earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from William Smith College and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. She is currently a third year doctoral student in the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education program at Michigan State. McDonough's areas of interest include educational theory, student development and engineering education.

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Daina Briedis Michigan State University

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Daina Briedis is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University. Dr. Briedis has been involved in several areas of education research including student retention, curriculum redesign, and the use of technology in the classroom. She is a co-PI on two NSF grants in the areas of integration of computation in engineering curricula and in developing comprehensive strategies to retain early engineering students. She is active nationally and internationally in engineering accreditation and is a Fellow of ABET.

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Neeraj Buch Michigan State University

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Renée S. DeGraaf Lansing Community College

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Tutoring Services Coordinator, Learning Assistance Department 1990 - present

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Jon Sticklen Michigan State University

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Jon Sticklen is the Director of the Center for Engineering Education Research at Michigan State University. Dr. Sticklen is also Director of Applied Engineering Sciences, an undergraduate bachelor of science degree program in the MSU College of Engineering. He also is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Dr. Sticklen has lead a laboratory in knowledge-based systems focused on task specific approaches to problem solving. Over the last decade, Dr. Sticklen has pursued engineering education research focused on early engineering; his current research is supported by NSF/DUE and NSF/CISE.

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Sarah J. Stoner Michigan State University

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Sarah Stoner is a mechanical engineering student at Michigan State University set to graduate with a B.S. in May 2011 with a Spanish minor. She is the corporate relations chair member for the Society of Women Engineers MSU chapter. Sarah has tutored for beginning engineering courses for two years through various programs and is now directly involved with the university’s Supplemental Instruction program, one component of a National Science Foundation grant aimed to engage early engineering students.

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Mark Urban-Lurain Michigan State University

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Director of Instructional Technology Research & Development

Division of Science and Mathematics Education

College of Natural Science

Michigan State University

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Claudia E. Vergara Michigan State University

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Claudia Elena Vergara, Ph.D., Purdue University. Fields of expertise: Plant Biology and STEM Education Research. Dr. Vergara is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) at Michigan State University. Her research interest is in STEM education through research projects on instructional design, implementation and assessment of student learning, aimed to improve science, engineering and technology education.

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Thomas F. Wolff Michigan State University

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Dr. Thomas F. Wolff is Associate Dean of Engineering for Undergraduate Studies at Michigan State University. In this capacity, he is responsible for all activities related to student services (academic administration, advising, career planning, women and diversity programs, etc.) and curricular issues. He is principal investigator on several NSF grants related to retention of engineering students. As a faculty member in civil engineering, he co-teaches a large introductory course in civil engineering. His research and consulting activities have focused on the safety and reliability of hydraulic structures, and he has participated as an expert in three different capacities regarding reviews of levee performance in Hurricane Katrina. He is a three-time recipient of his college’s Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence, a recipient of the Chi Epsilon Regional Teaching Award, and a recipient of the U.S. Army Commander’s Award medal for Public Service. In 2010, he was elected to the National Council of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, and serves as National Marshal of that organization.

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Abstract

The Successes and Challenges of Supplemental Instruction as a Component of an NSF STEP Project to Engage Early Engineering StudentsIn recent years there has been a noticeable decline in the number of STEM students nationwide.Specifically, there is a high loss rate of early engineering students in the first half of their degreeprograms. The early “leavers” typically fall into two categories (i) those that are facingacademic probation and (ii) those that perceive the education environment of early engineeringas hostile and not engaging (Bernold, Spurlin et.al., 2007; Seymour, 2002; Seymour and Hewitt,1997). Undergraduate engineering enrollment has declined substantially over the last decade atthe College of Engineering at a large Midwestern university. The downturn can be attributedpartly to the rapid decline of the American automobile and manufacturing industry, a traditionalmainstay for the local economy.In 2008, a five-year NSF STEP grant (STEM Talent Expansion Program) was awarded tosupport a partnership between the Colleges of Engineering and Natural Science at the university,and a nearby community college. The project is titled Engaging Early Engineering Students(EEES). A primary goal of EEES is to increase retention at the College of Engineering and inturn increase the number of degree recipients. The EEES project functions through thesynergistic operation of four components designed to maximize student engagement with boththe college and the learning process. The components are (i) Connector faculty; (ii)Supplemental Instruction; (iii) Course cross linkages; and (iv) Early intervention.The primary objective of this paper is to describe the successes and challenges encounteredduring the first two and a half years of the Supplemental Instruction segment of the EEESproject. Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an internationally recognized peer-tutoring program thatintegrates course content with active student learning in the form of peer facilitated studysessions. This approach to peer to peer learning has shown that participating students makegreater gains than those achieved by classmates competing with each other or studying alone(Bok, 2006). Additionally, group learning has demonstrated benefits essential to creating a morewelcoming educational environment, including helping to integrate students into academic life,teaching effective collaboration methods, and reducing prejudice (Bok).This paper will include (i) a description of the implementation process of SI at the College ofEngineering; (ii) the roles of the various partners in the SI program; (iii) early signs of successand the evaluation methods used to measure them; and (iv) adjustments made to maximizeprogram resources, including the creation of combined subject sessions to increase attendanceand demonstrate the interconnectedness of subject material. Quantitative and qualitative methodswere used to acquire data on the impact of SI, including the students who attend the studysessions, as well as the peer leaders who facilitate them. In addition, the paper will highlight theSI program in relation to student development theory in the context of engineering education.

McDonough, C. A., & Briedis, D., & Buch, N., & DeGraaf, R. S., & Sticklen, J., & Stoner, S. J., & Urban-Lurain, M., & Vergara, C. E., & Wolff, T. F. (2011, June), Peer-led Supplemental Instruction in an NSF STEP Project: The EEES Experience Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18711

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