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Retaining Probation Students In Engineering And Computer Science

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.856.1 - 6.856.4

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Paper Authors

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Cynthia Villanueva

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Amy Strobel

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1631

Retaining Probation Students in Engineering and Computer Science Amy Strobel, Cynthia Villanueva University of New Mexico


The Engineering Student Programs Office (ESPO) in the School of Engineering (SOE) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) is responsible for advising students on both college and academic probation who have been admitted into the SOE in Pre-Major status. Linking traditional, innovative, and visionary initiatives has increased retention and matriculation for these students in Engineering and Computer Science Pre-Major status. Throughout this paper we will examine these initiatives. We believe in personalizing the requirements for each probation and re-admission at-risk student. We utilize the traditional requirements of having a written contract, requiring grade checks, and having an open door policy with “honest” conversations. We solicit faculty assistance in deciding exact requirements for admission or re-admission and defining specific and measurable goals and objectives for the students. We also request faculty to assess a student’s potential for successful progress. We utilize technology by referring students to on-line tutorial services and encouraging constant one-on-one communication between faculty, students, and our office via phone, email, and frequent in person contacts.


For the past 3 years the ESPO staff have attempted many techniques to increase our effectiveness in retaining students in their pursuit of an Engineering or Computer Science degree. We are tasked with preparing all incoming freshmen, transfer, and re-admission students, known as “Pre-Majors”, to become eligible for admission into a degree program in the school. We are also responsible for all Pre-Major students placed on probation due to not meeting the Grade Point Average (gpa) requirement or non-progress in their degree. In 1999, the SOE probation requirements of a minimum cumulative gpa of 2.5 increased from the previously required 2.2, and the minimum semester gpa of 2.5 increased from 2.0, however the academic probation minimum cumulative gpa of 2.0 remained the same as before. We have also become more strict in the requirements of maintaining reasonable, “C”, or better grades in all attempted courses, and showing progress towards their degrees.

To increase matriculation of Engineering and Computer Science students and to maintain retention at the University of New Mexico, it is vital to personalize the requirements for each probation student. It is also crucial to have common components and strategies in place for every student. This paper will specifically address three components for every student on probation - mandatory advising, faculty collaboration, and technology in advising.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Villanueva, C., & Strobel, A. (2001, June), Retaining Probation Students In Engineering And Computer Science Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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