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Using Cooperative Learning In A Freshman Summer Engineering Orientation Program

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.507.1 - 1.507.7

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Paper Authors

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Sylvia D. Pifion

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Elsa Q. Villa

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Connie Kubo Della-Piana

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3253

Using Cooperative Learning in a Freshman Summer Engineering Orientation Program

Connie Kubo Della-Piana, Elsa Q. Villa, Sylvia D. Pifion The University of Texas at El Paso

ABSTRACT The College of Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), the largest university in the continental United States with a majority-Hispanic student population, has offered a variety of freshman summer orientation programs for entering freshmen since 1976. Drawing from past experiences, the program has evolved into the Summer Engineering Enrichment Experience (SEEE) which is now a required, one-week, non-credit, 40 contact-hour program for all first-time entering freshmen into the College. Students are immersed in mathematics, college survival skills, advising, and engineering design.

The underlying objective of SEEE is to create an environment for entering students which is supportive both academically and socially. UTEP is for the most part a commuter university which elicits many challenges in program delivery. In particular, students must have the opportunity to develop a strong sense of community with faculty, professional staff, and students.

In this paper, the fundamental SEEE program components will be discussed in detail with a particular emphasis on the cooperative learning aspects of those components. Preliminary data along with informal evaluation have indicated program success and will be included in this paper.

INTRODUCTION Founded in 1914 as the School of Mines & Metallurgy, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Range in Far West Texas. UTEP is poised to develop, implement and test strategies that address the needs of non-traditional students. Since 1976, UTEP’S College of Engineering has offered a variety of programs aimed at the recruitment and retention of engineering students through its Engineering Programs Office (EPO) which reports directly to the Dean of Engineering.

The proliferation of Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) in universities across the nation is testimonial to the national awakening of the need to develop a prepared technical workforce, particularly among non-traditional groups. MEPs traditionally focus on a subset of the engineering student body and employ a variety of successful retention strategies such as structured study groups, summer bridge programs, study centers, and orientation courses, to name a few.

While these retention strategies have been implemented at UTEP, they have been introduced to the greater student body and are not focused particularly on traditionally underrepresented students. “ Scaling up” retention strategies at UTEP has been a challenge for the EPO for the last few years and a variety of new/modified’ strategies have been introduced to meet that challenge. One such modification is the introduction of structured cooperative

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Pifion, S. D., & Villa, E. Q., & Della-Piana, C. K. (1996, June), Using Cooperative Learning In A Freshman Summer Engineering Orientation Program Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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