June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Although engineering enrollments have increased significantly in the past five years, retention of engineering students is difficult for a variety of reasons to include rigor of courses, and many first and second year courses are outside of the engineering departments. Studies show that success in increasing retention must focus on not only support services for academic achievement, but also on optimizing community building and collaborations among the students and faculty. Additionally, several studies have shown that success and retention of students participating in mentor programs were higher than students who did not participate. This paper will discuss a variety of evolving mentoring activities that have been employed over the last several years in the School of Engineering. At [Institution], retention in engineering programs from freshman to sophomore year over the past five years has increased from 62% to 81%. Some mentoring activities are focused at underrepresented populations, women and minorities, while others are implemented for the entire engineering student population. Mentoring efforts included: use of a single person to advise a select demographic of undergraduates, peer mentors, faculty advisors, faculty mentors, and engineering industry mentors. The School has taken a full, four-year approach to its mentoring efforts, transitioning the role of the first year student from mentee to mentor in some cases through volunteering to maintain contact with industry mentors in subsequent years. The overall mentoring program is multilayered: 1) helping new students transition to higher education and identify with their particular program; 2) helping students struggling in upper level courses and in leadership positions or conducting undergraduate research; and 3) helping students began their transition to the engineering profession.
This paper presents how one university developed and uses mentoring to provide a number of different engagement activities. These efforts focus on creating a culture of open communications with engineering students and increase engagement of engineering students with faculty, engineering professionals, and peers to develop resiliency and persistence towards an engineering degree. Included is the rationale for each activity, together with a brief summary of how it was implemented. Statistical and anecdotal survey data as evidence to the success or effectiveness of these efforts is presented and discussed, with particular attention paid to student retention. Analysis of examples of mentoring activities will provide a number of best practices.
Rabb, R. J., & Welch, R. W., & Davis, W. J., & Ragan, D. D., & Geathers, J. (2019, June), Small Mentoring Efforts that Make a Big Difference for Retention Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33270
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