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Recruiting Undecided Admits to Pursue a STEM Degree

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 9: Evaluating and Measuring Recruiting and Major Selection Strategies

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

20

DOI

10.18260/p.26052

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26052

Download Count

66

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Paper Authors

biography

Melissa A. Dagley University of Central Florida

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Melissa Dagley is the Executive Director of Initiatives in STEM (iSTEM) at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Dagley serves as Director of the previously NSF-funded STEP 1a program “EXCEL:UCF-STEP Pathways to STEM: From Promise to Prominence" and PI for the NSF-funded STEP 1b program “Convincing Outstanding-Math-Potential Admits to Succeed in STEM (COMPASS)”. She is currently a Co-PI for the Girls EXCELling in Math and Science (GEMS) and WISE@UCF industry funded women’s mentoring initiatives. Through iSTEM Dr. Dagley works to promote and enhance collaborative efforts on STEM education and research by bringing together colleges, centers, and institutes on campus, as well as other stakeholders with similar interest in STEM initiatives. Her research interests lie in the areas of student access to education, sense of community, retention, first-year experience, living-learning communities, and persistence to graduation for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs.

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Cynthia Y. Young University of Central Florida

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Cynthia Young is the Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Excellence and International Affairs and Global Strategies and a Pegasus Professor of Mathematics at UCF. She is the Co-PI of an NSF Funded Step 1B program called COMPASS, a Co-PI of the NSF-funded S-STEM program at UCF entitled the "Young Entrepreneur and Scholar(YES) Scholarship Program" as well as the NSF-funded STEP program entitled "EXCEL:UCF-STEP Pathways to STEM: From Promise to Prominence." Dr. Young's interests are in improving student learning in mathematics and increasing success in STEM education.

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Michael Georgiopoulos University of Central Florida

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Michael Georgiopoulos received the Diploma in EE from the National
Technical University in Athens, his MS degree and Ph.D. degree in EE
from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, in 1981, 1983 and
1986, respectively. He is currently a Professor in the Department of ECE
at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. From September 2011 to June 2012 he served as the Interim Assistant Vice President of Research at the Office of Research and Commercialization. He has served as the Interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science from July 2012 to May 2013. Since May 2013 he is serving as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

His research interests lie in the areas of Machine Learning and applications with
special emphasis on neural network and neuro-evolutionary algorithms,
and their applications. He has published more than 70 journal papers
and more than 190 conference papers in a variety of conference and
journal venues. He has been an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks from 2002 to 2006, and an Associate Editor of the Neural Networks journal from 2006 to 2012. He has served as the Technical Co-Chair of the IJCNN 2011.

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Andrew Patrick Daire University of Houston

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Dr. Andrew P. Daire, Professor and Associate Dean for Research in University of Houston’s College of Education received his Ph.D. from the Florida State University in Counseling Psychology. Daire researches career development along with couple and family interventions to reduce stress and improve family and economic stability in low-income ethnic minority and underrepresented populations.

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Christopher L. Parkinson University of Central Florida

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Diandra J. Prescod Pennsylvania State University

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Christopher T. Belser University of Central Florida

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Christopher T. Belser is a doctoral student in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Central Florida. He serves as a Graduate Teaching Associate for an NSF-funded project with the goal of recruiting and retaining undergraduates into STEM fields.

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Abstract

This paper details the use of evidence based practices in a strategic effort to recruit, and then retain, undecided admits into a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning community designed to increase student success in STEM and, ultimately, the number of STEM degrees awarded. The primary goal of the National Science Foundation funded learning community (LC), COMPASS, focuses on tapping into the pool of students who have good math potential, but are undecided in a career path, to increase the number of students entering the STEM pipeline. To accomplish this goal COMPASS must first increase the number of undecided non-STEM students converting to STEM disciplines and then increase the STEM retention rate of this group.

The primary intervention is a two-year learning community model enhanced by other evidence based practices including mentoring, curricular cohorts, tutoring and undergraduate research. To foster a unique learning environment where students are comfortable exploring the STEM disciplines, COMPASS places undecided, non-STEM students into one of two tracks during the first-semester in college where they complete a Career Planning: STEM Explorations or STEM Seminar course. In addition to the Career Planning and STEM Seminar courses, students also enroll in cohort math courses throughout the first year, are assigned a STEM program advisor, have the opportunity to live in block housing, receive an upper-division STEM peer mentor, interact in a designated STEM Center with program peers and STEM graduate tutors and participate in an early undergraduate research experience.

This paper discusses COMPASS’ infrastructure, the evidence based practices implemented to achieve its objectives, the results from these activities and the career readiness research as well as lessons learned in the first three years of the LC’s operation. Early results show positive steps in recruitment of undecided students and first-year STEM retention while the Career Planning course participants show a significant decrease in their decision making confusion and look more like their STEM counterparts with less commitment anxiety. This project fills a gap in research on successful STEM recruitment and retention strategies as well as the integration of career readiness assessments and career development interventions in determining early indicators and long-term success of potential STEM recruits. Communities impacted include students displaying confusion regarding career decisions who benefit from early intervention and education on STEM opportunities; education disciplines with a focus on career planning and student development programs; and graduate students whose tutoring of students will eventually help them to be better teachers in their academic careers.

Dagley, M. A., & Young, C. Y., & Georgiopoulos, M., & Daire, A. P., & Parkinson, C. L., & Prescod , D. J., & Belser, C. T. (2016, June), Recruiting Undecided Admits to Pursue a STEM Degree Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26052

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