June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Two Year College Division
23.1266.1 - 23.1266.7
Transfer Student Retention: Lessons LearnedMany students do not effectively make the transfer from a two-year college to an engineeringcurriculum at a four-year institution. A comprehensive program has been developed to addressissues associated with the transfer process. This student success initiative, XXX-LINK, is anNSF funded program that stimulates enrollment, enhances retention in engineering programs atthe university, and increases the technical workforce. Important lessons have been learnedduring the early stages of the program.A key component of the program is a seminar that assists in the transition process. The XXX-LINK seminar includes student support activities designed to enhance the academic success oftransfer students. Academic success skills (such as time management and study skills) areintroduced in the seminar through small-group discussions and resources for homeworkassistance are actively discussed. The students explore engineering majors through problem-based applications, gaining essential experience with engineering problem solving. The seminaralso focuses on social involvement and interpersonal skills. Students are introduced to careersand research/internship opportunities and to job placement skills so they are well prepared toenter the technical workforce.An important factor in student retention is the sense of community that a student develops, whichis enhanced through the seminar. The XXX-LINK program incorporates a community-buildingmodel to build a cohort among the participants. Each XXX-LINK student is assigned a PeerMentor and a Faculty Mentor. These triads meet regularly to assist in the student’s transition toand involvement in the university.Preliminary results indicate that the program has been successful in recruiting and retainingtransfer students and that the seminar is a key component. A focus group was held with theXXX-LINK students at the end of the first semester. Several issues were identified: advising,faculty approachability, homework and exam frequency, campus resource availability, as well aspersonal/family problems. For many students, even high academic achievers, the communitycollege experience does not adequately prepare them for the rigor and pace in the engineeringcurriculum.Some of these issues can be addressed by better advising. Hence we have identified a specificadvisor in each department to deal with all transfer students; these advisors are also betterequipped to handle personal/family problems. Other issues can be addressed in the seminar sotransfer students are more aware of university procedures and resources. We have recommendedthat all transfer students be offered the opportunity to take the seminar.Additionally, we are working with area community colleges to address these issues. Theseschools can provide orientation session(s) for students transferring to 4-year schools.Community college faculty need to be better acquainted with curricula for each engineeringdegree, so students are better prepared for the transition. Articulation meetings have beeninitiated with area community colleges to facilitate these conversations.On-going assessment of student retention is being conducted to validate program outcomes.Assessment will also examine the role of student participation in undergraduate research,internships, and co-op experiences to determine the effect on retention.
Jefferson, G. D., & Steadman, S. J., & Dougherty, F. C. (2013, June), Transfer Student Transition: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22651
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