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Peer Mentoring: A Transitional Program to Improve Retention in the College of Engineering

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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

Multidisciplinary Technical Session

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

22.1147.1 - 22.1147.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18896

Download Count

23

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Paper Authors

biography

Summer Dann Johnson Louisiana State University

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Ms Dann is the Project Manager for the College of Engineering's STEP program. She has her Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering and worked for industry for 9 years prior to returning to academia.

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biography

Paige Davis Louisiana State University

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Paige Davis has 20 years experience as an Instructor in the College of Engineering at Louisiana State University. In addition to teaching she assists with the STEP program. She received her baccalaureate degree in Engineering Technology and her master's degree in Industrial
Engineering from Louisiana State University.

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biography

Ashley Elisabeth Thibodeaux Louisiana State University

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Ms. Ashley Thibodeaux graduated in May 2010 in biomedical engineering from Louisiana Tech University. She is currently employed with the STEP program and serves as one of the assistant STEP coordinators. Her future aspirations include attending graduate school for prosthetics and orthotics.

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biography

Laura H. Ikuma Louisiana State University

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Laura Ikuma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management and Industrial Engineering. Her research interests are in human factors and safety, in particular the links between lean production, psychosocial factors, and injury outcomes.

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Kelly A. Rusch P.E. Louisiana State University

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Associate Dean,
College of Engineering

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Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean, he has acquired funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development with effective learning and teaching pedagogies.

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Abstract

Peer Mentoring, A Transition Program to Improve Retention in the College of Engineering The XX College of Engineering’s Peer Mentoring Program is an interdisciplinaryprogram that utilizes upperclassmen within the college to introduce and assist freshmen withtheir transition into the university environment. The mentoring program was initiated with five(5) engineering “team leaders” working with 45 freshmen in the inaugural XX 2007 EncounterEngineering (E2) bridge camp. Over the last 3 years, E2 increased to 125 freshmen participantsand the need for more peer mentors grew accordingly. In 2009, the E2 peer mentoring modelwas expanded to support XX’s two credit hour course, ENGR 1050 Introduction to Engineering. Consistent with the research that indicates that students will be retained in the College ofEngineering if they make connections early, the retention of the peer mentors in the college afterone year is approximately 92% as compared to the retention of approximately 78% for otherfreshmen in the STEP programs. The peer mentoring program has the highest retention of all ofthe STEP programs, including the camp, class and the engineering residential college. Theaverage retention of the students in the College of Engineering as of the 14th day of fall 2010 percohort year is presented in Chart 1. Comparing the retention of the peer mentors to a cohort witha similar background and start date at XX, shows a significant retention of these students whencompared to other students in the STEP programs and students who did not participate in a STEPprogram. Recruitment and training of peer mentors begins in the spring. Training consists of twoformal ½ day sessions with topics such as boundaries, first aid and their roles and responsibilitiesand informal evening “wrap up” sessions during the camp and/or the class. The peer mentorduties have evolved from basic interaction to developing and leading activities. In order toeffectively coordinate their increased numbers, a peer mentor hierarchy was established foreffective monitoring, communication and management. Peer mentors from the camp and classare all encouraged to continue including protégés in fall semester activities such as studentorganization meetings, design competitions, professional/personal development seminars andother university activities such as Career Day and Fall Fest. Surveys and focus groups with the peer mentors have allowed for adaptation of the peermentoring and the freshmen programs. Changes such as incorporating the peer mentors asleaders, providing resource training materials, having a peer mentor management system and twoformal activities between peer mentors and protégés were suggested in the surveys and focusgroups. Additionally, peer mentors indicated that they continued their interaction with at least 2to 3 of their protégés throughout the fall semester, have provided tutoring for freshmen and havefacilitated the recruitment of freshmen into student organizations. In conclusion the peer mentoring program not only provides assistance for the incomingfreshmen but also provides a support structure and guidance for the peer mentors as theytransition from freshmen to sophomore year and beyond.   % Retention of ENGR students in College of Engineering 14th Day, 2010 100 95 89 86 Cohort 1, 85 F2007 79 After 3 73 years 75 62 65 66 65 Cohort 2,% Retention 55 F2008 55 50 52 After 2 46 years 45 35 Cohort 3, F2009 After 1 25 year Peer Mentors STEP Program Non STEP Program Historical, ENGR Participants (Average 11 years) (Average)

Johnson, S. D., & Davis, P., & Thibodeaux, A. E., & Ikuma, L. H., & Rusch, K. A., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2011, June), Peer Mentoring: A Transitional Program to Improve Retention in the College of Engineering Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18896

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