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The Effects of Peer-Led Workshops in a Statics Course

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2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

April 6, 2018

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April 6, 2018

End Date

April 7, 2018

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Melanie Villatoro P.E. New York City College of Technology

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Melanie Villatoro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management and Civil Engineering Technology at NYC College of Technology. She teaches a variety of courses in the civil engineering major including statics, strength of materials, concrete, steel, soil mechanics, and foundations. Melanie’s approach to teaching builds on developing rapport with her students. She is highly effective in the classroom and as an advisor and mentor. She is passionate about student retention and performance, as well as STEM Outreach from the elementary to the high school level.

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Karla Karolin Peña Student

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Karla Peña comes from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She moved to the United States when she was 14 years old and continued her high school education at Bronx International High School where she eventually graduated from. Karla graduated from high school with honors after being part of the chosen students to take AP courses based on grades and being an active member of the student government. Even though Karla wants to get a bachelor's degrees, she is currently working on her associates degree in Civil Engineering at New York City College of Technology. Karla recently joined the Peer-Led Team Learning organization at her college. The PLTL program has showed her how satisfying and important it is to share your knowledge with peers on a similar path as you. Besides helping others succeed in their college courses, the PLTL program has made her a better individual and student. After graduating with her associates degree, Karla plans to pursue a field inspector position in order to obtain experience for her future career.

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Janet Liou-Mark New York City College of Technology, CUNY

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Dr. Janet Liou-Mark is a Professor of Mathematics and the Director of the Honors Scholars Program at New York City College of Technology. She is also a Co-Principle Investigator on three National Science Foundation (NSF) grants: Math Science Partnership (MSP) grant, Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) grant, and Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE): Pathways into Geoscience grant and a Co- Principle Investigator on a Department of Education Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) grant. Dr. Liou-Mark has organized several STEM-related conferences and national conference sessions on diversifying the STEM workforce. She continues to speak at conferences and conduct workshops on best practices for underrepresented minorities in STEM. Dr. Liou-Mark is selected as the 2017-2018 Scholar on Campus. She was awarded the 2017 Best of New York Award for her contributions to City Tech. Her research interest in the implementation of the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) instructional model in mathematics has won her the 2011 CUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mathematics Instruction and the Mathematical Association of America Metro New York Section 2014 Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics. She is the director of the Peer-Led Team Learning Leadership Program at City Tech, and she has trained over 175 underrepresented minority students majoring in a STEM discipline to be effective Peer Leaders. Moreover, Dr. Liou-Mark has personally mentored over 200 STEM students where a third are continuing or obtaining advanced STEM degrees. She organizes and speaks at women conferences in Malawi, Africa, and she is also building libraries for the schools and communities in the Malawian villages.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an 8% increase in employment for civil engineers is expected in the next decade.1 To assist in attracting more undergraduates to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering Technology, New York City College of Technology has implemented an instructional strategy in one of the main gatekeeper courses. Statics has been identified as a course where undergraduates either decide to retain in their Civil Engineering Technology major or transfer out to another one. To provide more support for undergraduates taking this course, the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) strategy was adopted. This study compared the final grade distribution of the Statics course in three categories: no PLTL, non-mandatory PLTL, and mandatory PLTL. These categories reflect the time periods of the Statics course where PLTL was not offered at all, when it was an optional support program, and when it officially became part of the curriculum. After analyzing the final grade distribution, results showed that the ABC pass rates of the mandatory PLTL sections were approximately 20% higher when compared to both the no PLTL and non-mandatory PLTL sections. Moreover, the withdrawal rates were approximately 10% lower for the mandatory PLTL sections when compared to the rates of the other two sections.

Villatoro, M., & Peña, K. K., & Liou-Mark, J. (2018, April), The Effects of Peer-Led Workshops in a Statics Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--29497

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