June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Educational Research and Methods
23.1228.1 - 23.1228.18
Knowing our Students Better: Faculty Learning from Academic AdvisingThere were nearly 500,000 undergraduate engineering students in baccalaureate programs in theUS in Fall 2010 ( Engineering & Technology Enrollments, Fall 2010 — Engineering WorkforceCommission). It is expected that fewer than half of them will have earned engineering degreesby 2016 (Retrieved 4/2212 from http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind04/c2/c2s2.htm). This lowgraduation rate is costly to institutions and has serious, negative implications for our ability tocompete in the global economy (Cicerone, R. J., Vest, C.M. Fineberg, H. V., et al., Rising abovethe Gathering Storm, Revisited. Washington, DC: National Academy Press (2010).Furthermore, studies show that entry as well as graduation rates are even lower for the country’sgrowing minority population, particularly African American and Latino students. To compoundsuch issues, public universities, often the post-secondary destination for students who are thefirst in their family to attend college, are undergoing drastic budget cuts, tuition increases, andloss of staff and full-time faculty. This reduction in services is happening in universities withthe least prepared students, who have the most complex educational histories and lives, and whoneed the greatest amount of intervention and support. Over the last few decades, engineeringeducators have tackled many challenges of retaining non-traditional students in engineeringprograms through a variety of efforts such as improving the effectiveness of classroom teaching,increasing awareness of diversity in learning styles, and engaging more women and under-represented minority students in research opportunities. However there has not been muchdiscussion about the role of faculty advising in the success and retention of engineering students.Improving the nature of exchange between faculty advisor and student may increase studentretention by improving student confidence, self-knowledge and self-efficacy, and by steeringstudents in directions which help them avoid costly academic mistakes, and increasing theirengagement with the University. This requires faculty development in the areas of studentdevelopment, cultural competency, and institutional practices.We cannot serve well those whom we do not understand. Understanding and communicatingwith the complex population of students in our programs requires professional development offaculty in the same way that classroom teaching and research success do. We are developing, forour own institution, a comprehensive syllabus for faculty professional development. Theoverarching research question that drives our work can be stated as: How can faculty, trained asengineering researchers, and carrying heavy teaching loads, become effective advisors? Whatfaculty knowledge is needed to effectively transform this aspect of the student experience? Inaddition to a deep understanding of all of the policies, programs and resources available oncampus, the advisor needs to understand our students and their challenges and contexts, which isoften far outside of his or her own experience.In this paper, literature and the theoretical frameworks for academic advising will be reviewed.We then present our own professional development program for engineering faculty advisors in alarge comprehensive public university, and what we have learned about our students as a result.
Allen, E. L., & Castillo, F., & Schiorring, E. (2013, June), The Reflective Engineering Advisor: A Paradigm for Learning-Centered Student Advising Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22613
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