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Who Benefits Most from a Holistic Student Support Program in Engineering?

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Conference

2021 CoNECD

Location

Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 3 Slot 2 Technical Session 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36141

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

biography

Emily Knaphus-Soran University of Washington

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Emily Knaphus-Soran is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE) at the University of Washington. She works on the evaluation of several projects aimed at improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields. She also conducts research on the social-psychological and institutional forces that contribute to the persistence of race and class inequalities in the United States. Emily earned a PhD and MA in Sociology from the University of Washington, and a BA in Sociology from Smith College.

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Tiffany D. Pan University of Washington

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Tiffany Pan is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE) at the University of Washington, where she primarily works on evaluating The Redshirt in Engineering Consortium. Tiffany is a PhD candidate in Bio-cultural Anthropology interested in the links between biology, behavior, and environment and their collective effects on human health. She also earned an MPH in Epidemiology and MA in Anthropology from the University of Washington.

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Eve A. Riskin P.E. University of Washington

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Eve Riskin received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from
M.I.T. and her graduate degrees in EE from Stanford. Since 1990, she
has been in the EE Department at the University of Washington where
she is now Associate Dean of Diversity and Access in the College of
Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the
ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change. With ADVANCE, she works on
mentoring and leadership development programs for women faculty in
SEM. Her research interests include image compression and image
processing, with a focus on developing video compression algorithms to
allow for cell-phone transmission of American Sign Language. She was
awarded a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a
Sloan Research Fellowship, the 2006 WEPAN University Change Agent
award, the 2006 Hewlett-Packard Harriett B. Rigas Award, and the 2007
University of Washington David B. Thorud Leadership Award.
She is a Fellow of the IEEE.

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Sonya Cunningham University of Washington

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Sonya Cunningham has over 15 years of success in higher education leadership - directing, managing and supporting critical initiatives, working with diverse student populations, colleagues and academic departments. Currently she serves as Co-Principal Investigator and the Executive Director for the Washington STate Academic RedShirt Program (STARS). STARS aims to increase the retention rate of economically and educationally disadvantaged students in engineering. Deeply passionate about equity, access and inclusion, most of her higher education experience has involved supporting students from underserved backgrounds and helping institutions improve in this area. Recipient of the University of Washington David B. Thorud Leadership Award.

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Saejin Kwak Tanguay University of Washington

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Saejin Kwak Tanguay is a Ph.D. Candidate in Multicultural Education at the University of Washington. Her research examines how educational policy, practice, curriculum, and instruction mediate cross-racial and cross-ethnic peer relations among students, and how these peer relations shape students of color's educational experiences, trajectories, and access to opportunities.

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Elizabeth Litzler University of Washington

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Elizabeth Litzler, Ph.D., is the director of the University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (UW CERSE) and an affiliate assistant professor of sociology. She has been at UW working on STEM Equity issues for more than 15 years. Dr. Litzler is a member of ASEE and a former board member of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). Her research interests include the educational climate for students, faculty, and staff in science and engineering, assets based approaches to STEM equity, and gender and race stratification in education and the workforce.

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Abstract

For many students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds a college degree can provide a pathway to upward mobility, particularly in a lucrative field like engineering. However, as several studies have shown, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are underrepresented in engineering and face significant barriers to degree completion [1], [2]. At the University of Washington (UW), the Washington STate Academic RedShirt (STARS) in Engineering program provides highly motivated students from low-income backgrounds and underserved high schools in Washington with holistic support including intrusive advising and specialized first-year curriculum designed to build learning skills and strengthen academic preparation. STARS students from the first six cohorts have shown that with intensive support, students who may have otherwise been excluded from engineering can excel and graduate. STARS has also contributed to increased diversity in the UW College of engineering; to date, half of the STARS students are from minoritized racial/ethnic groups, over two-thirds are first generation college students, over 40% are women, and 85% hold Pell Grants. The success of the STARS program has attracted the attention of policymakers both at the UW and statewide. The Redshirt in Engineering model is also becoming an approach for increasing access and equity in engineering nationwide. As the model gains traction and there is pressure to expand the program, it is important to understand which students are best served by STARS.

This mixed-methods study utilizes academic data from 16,164 engineering students who enrolled at the UW between 2009 and 2018 (including 211 STARS students), and an in-depth qualitative case study of one STARS cohort. The study finds that, overall, STARS students performed better in Calculus I and Calculus II and were retained in engineering at higher rates than would be predicted based on their individual, academic, and high school characteristics. While STARS students performed better than expected on the whole, there was a great deal of variation in the residuals (the difference between observed and predicted course grades). Our quantitative findings suggest that students who appear to benefit most from the STARS program are students with low academic admissions and standardized test scores, students from groups ethnically/racially minoritized in engineering, students who are the first in their family to attend a 4-year university, men, and students from urban areas. Qualitative findings suggest that these students benefit from the strong bonds formed with other STARS students and the extra academic support and problem solving skills developed through the program.

Knaphus-Soran, E., & Pan, T. D., & Riskin, E. A., & Cunningham, S., & Tanguay, S. K., & Litzler, E. (2021, January), Who Benefits Most from a Holistic Student Support Program in Engineering? Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . https://peer.asee.org/36141

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