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Utilizing a Student-Led Program to Make Major Leaps in Persistence

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Student Division Diversity and Persistence Related Technical Session

Tagged Division

Student

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29098

Download Count

66

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Paper Authors

biography

James Blake Gegenheimer STEP

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James Gegenheimer is an MSME Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at LSU. James is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He will be stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Utah. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. through the Air Force and work with the Air Force Weapons Research Laboratory.
James is currently the Supplemental Instruction Coordinator at LSU for the College of Engineering. He also served as a Supplemental Instructor in Thermodynamics for over three years. He has worked to improve how STEM college students learn through the use of active learning.

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biography

Charles Algeo Wilson IV Louisiana State University

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Charles is a PhD student in Environmental Sciences at Louisiana State University. In 2012, he earned his master’s degree in Medical and Health Physics and has since been working towards a PhD. During his studies, he has worked actively with the LSU STEM Talent and Expansion Program and LSU Center for Academic Success helping with different methods that aim to improve how STEM college students learn including tutorial centers, PLTL, SI, and recitation programs.

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Adrienne Steele Louisiana State University

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Adrienne Steele has over 18 years experience in STEM education. Currently, Adrienne works at Louisiana State University, managing all aspects of the STEP project that consists of a large-scale peer mentoring program in the College of Engineering. Previously, she founded and coordinated the Scope-On-A-Rope Outreach Program (SOAR) in the Department of Biological Sciences, where she worked for 10 years. Prior to her positions at LSU, Adrienne was the Science Education Curator at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge. Adrienne has a Master of Science degree in zoology from LSU, where she studied in the Museum of Natural Science collections, and an Education Specialist Certification in science education.

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Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Undergraduate Program Director and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean in the College of Engineering (2004-2014), he acquired significant funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development of effective learning and teaching pedagogies.

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Abstract

Retention of undergraduate students in the College of Engineering (CoE) at Louisiana State University (LSU) has been a concern for many years; this has led administrators to ask: what additional academic support should be available so more students are retained and graduate? This question has a multitude of answers that have varying levels of effectiveness. One approach to increase retention is a peer led learning module called Supplemental Instruction (SI), which is currently funded by the NSF STEM Talent Expansion Program for sophomore level engineering courses. SI is an inexpensive program that utilizes undergraduate students who have previously taken and received a high grade in difficult, high enrollment courses. These student SIs hold active learning sessions and focus on the problem solving process that commonly confounds engineering students. LSU’s engineering SI program was created in 2013 and has been available to over 4000 students, with two-thirds of these opting to participate in the program (n=2738). Previous research conducted by the authors has shown that SI improves LSU students' success in these courses, with those who utilize SI passing at a much higher rate; other institutions across the United States have illustrated similar successes. Measuring student success outside of the individual courses where SI is offered was not explored in this work and leads to a bigger question: “Are students who attend SI are more likely to be retained and to graduate in engineering.” At LSU, the answer to this question is yes. Students who attend SI regularly, defined as attending 34% or more of sessions, have a graduation and retention rate of 91% through year four of their respective majors. Students who do not utilize SI have a graduation and retention rate of 77%. This suggests that students who regularly attend SI have a 14% higher chance of persisting in their respective engineering curriculum. Although Supplemental Instruction has been shown to benefit students in its respective courses, it is clear that SI is benefiting students past the individual course and onwards through graduation. This can be attributed to many reasons such as improved study habits, improved problem solving abilities, and a greater sense of community with fellow students all attained through attending SI.

Gegenheimer, J. B., & Wilson, C. A., & Steele, A., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2017, June), Utilizing a Student-Led Program to Make Major Leaps in Persistence Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29098

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