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Streamlining the Path from Community College to Engineering Degree Completion

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

6

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37736

Download Count

16

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Paper Authors

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Christy Wheeler West University of South Alabama Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0172-7212

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Christy Wheeler West is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of South Alabama, where she also serves as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. She holds a Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. from the University of Alabama. She teaches material and energy balances and chemical reactor design, and endeavors to incorporate student professional development in her courses.

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Eric J. Steward University of South Alabama Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-1714-740X

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Associate Professor in the Civil, Coastal, & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of South Alabama

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Joseph D. Richardson University of South Alabama

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Joseph D. Richardson is an Assistant Professor in the William B. Burnsed, Jr. Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Alabama.

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Abstract

The LINK scholarship program, sponsored by the NSF S-STEM program, awards scholarships to students transferring from community colleges in the Gulf Coast region to study engineering. A primary objective of the program is to decrease the time to degree completion after transfer. We have observed that despite two or more years of higher education prior to transfer, students generally require three years to graduate from engineering programs post-transfer due to having missed sophomore-level engineering courses that are prerequisites to the upper-level curricula. This delay especially impacts low-income students due to the cost of additional courses to maintain full-time status, financial aid loss due to part-time status, and delayed workforce entry. A solution is early transfer, either full-time or on a transient basis, to complete those missing sophomore courses. Implementing this solution requires the strengthening of relationships with community college faculty for advising and recruitment, since students would not otherwise know of the need for those courses before transferring. A key component of building those relationships is the use of extant articulation agreements so that students can reverse transfer credits to complete associate’s degrees, a crucial concern for the community colleges.

We have identified gateway courses in each of five engineering degree programs and designed a pathway for transfer students to shorten time to degree completion, tailored to each of several regional community colleges that are significant feeders to our programs. With those pathways in place, we are working to build partnerships with mathematics and physical science educators at those colleges. Together, we are constructing a pipeline from the community college system to streamline advising, facilitate recruitment, foster student success, and accelerate entry into the engineering workforce.

In addition to the pre-transfer advising and recruitment efforts, the LINK program includes initiatives to promote student academic achievement and professional success after transfer. These are largely focused on transfer student integration into the student community, specifically in their engineering disciplines. This is accomplished by peer partnering and mentoring as well as by structured advising.

West, C. W., & Steward, E. J., & Richardson, J. D. (2021, July), Streamlining the Path from Community College to Engineering Degree Completion Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37736

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