June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
The CASCaded Mentoring and Design Experiences (CASCADE) program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) aims at increasing the quantity, quality, and diversity of TAMUK students who successfully earn an engineering baccalaureate degree. This goal is achieved through engaging engineering students in design exercises and experiences throughout their academic undergraduate careers. The CASCADE project provides student support in an innovative configuration of cascaded peer-mentoring. This program exposes freshman students to the engineering design process with vertically aligned design experiences through the sophomore and junior year. Cascading vertically, undergraduate seniors mentor juniors, juniors mentor sophomores, and sophomores mentor freshmen. The objectives of the CASCADE project are to 1) infuse concepts of the design process across all four levels of the engineering undergraduate curriculum (i.e., freshman through senior), 2) increase first-year, second-year, and third-year retention of engineering undergraduate students to 78%, 68%, 62%, respectively, and 3) raise the 6-year engineering undergraduate graduation rate to 54%. This STEP 1-B project funded by the National Science Foundation has been piloted in three undergraduate engineering programs at TAMUK, particularly in the baccalaureate programs of mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering. The incorporation of engineering design experiences across the undergraduate curriculum has contributed to increased student retention and persistence to graduation within 6 years. The CASCADE project has been implemented in three freshman courses (UNIV 1101, AEEN 1310, MEEN 1310), four sophomore courses (CEEN 2301, MEEN 2302, EVEN 2371, AEEN 1320), and five junior courses (CEEN 3311, CEEN 3145, MEEN 3348, CEEN 3392, and MEEN 3392). The average first-year, second-year, and third-year retention percentages of undergraduate students in the above courses were 79% (range of 63-94%), 73% (47-91%), and 62% (47-76%), respectively. These retention values are exceeding the expected values and the actual retention rates values for the corresponding engineering departments. The average six-year graduation rate for the targeted courses was 85.6% which is about 1.6 times larger than the expected six-year graduation rate. It is expected that this cascading peer mentoring program will serve as a model to benefit other engineering programs. Involvement of engineering faculty researchers has helped to connect research to undergraduate education and theory to relevant design experiences linked to industry problems.
Barakat, N., & Ramirez, D., & Ozcelik, S., & McCoy, J. A., & Al-Shalash, A., & Choi, J. (2017, June), The CASCADE Experience: An Innovative Cascaded Peer-Mentoring Project Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28948
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