Daytona Beach, Florida
August 6, 2017
August 6, 2017
August 8, 2017
FYEE Conference - Works in Progress Submission
Creating intentional connections between students in the first year of college is essential to help develop a sense of connection and belonging to the university. In engineering, creating peer mentorship allows new students to see beyond the incoming year and enables them to builds bonds which can sustain them through the peaks and valleys of the academic experience. The School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) at Baylor University utilizes an intentional peer-mentoring model with pre-engineering majors that students can engage with both in and outside the classroom.
Since 2003, Baylor University has offered new student experience courses designed to assist in the transition process for incoming students. As the university has moved to offering these as “credit-bearing” courses, ECS has developed an intentional curriculum for pre-engineering students offered in tandem with the introduction to engineering course. EGR 1095, the new student experience course required of all pre-engineering students, is led by both a faculty member and Peer Leaders, upper division engineering students. These student leaders are recruited, hired, and trained to serve as mentors and teaching assistants. In addition to their role in the classroom, these Peer Leaders also serve as leaders during Welcome Week, programming designed to acclimate new students to their new campus community. These Peer Leaders are intentionally assigned to connect with the students in their EGR 1095 classes during the Welcome Week experience, which provides for a smooth transition to the classroom upon the start of the academic year.
In Fall 2015, ECS opened the doors of the Learning Resource Center (LRC), a space designed to support academic and student success of students within the school. The vision for opening this space was born out of discussions with faculty and staff who desired to increase student success and graduation rates. The LRC offers students collaborative study space, access to a computer lab connected to the ECS network, free major-specific tutoring, and academic programming. In addition, a mentoring program, The Power of Two Mentoring Program (TPOT), for pre-engineering students was developed to support incoming students who desire a more intentional, one-on-one mentoring experience. New students apply for this program and are paired with an upper-division student mentor. Mentors utilize a curriculum to guide conversation based on the needs of the transitioning student and the academic calendar. Topics include, but are not limited to, goal setting, time management, navigating resources, professional development, and student involvement. The TPOT program is more focused on tailoring a relationship to the needs of each individual student.
These two peer-mentoring models provide a diverse approach in supporting engineering students in the first year. Connecting new students to upper-division students in these intentional ways has increased community, balanced new student expectations, and eased the transition for students at the start of their academic experience in engineering.
Sandvall, E., & Calder, D., & Harper, M., & Jackson, Z. B., & Baker, B. J. (2017, August), Peer Mentoring in the First-Year Engineering Experience Paper presented at 2017 FYEE Conference, Daytona Beach, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/29428
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