Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
Diversity and Undergraduate Education
This abstract is intended for the evidence-based practice track of the conference. Nationally, retention in engineering majors through graduation is approximately 30-55%. The University of Arizona’s College of Engineering retention rate through graduation is 46%. Within our Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, however, we have increased the retention through graduation to 70% through the deployment of a variety of classroom-based interventions throughout our sophomore-year courses.
To achieve this dramatic increase in retention over just the past several years, we developed and deployed specific in-class interventions that utilize engaged learning techniques. Grounded in three well-understood affective learning categories—belongingness, self-efficacy, and metacognition—we arrived at a set of scalable and cost-effective interventions through iterative experimentation in the classroom. This paper will describe several of these interventions, as well as their attendant theoretical supports, to demonstrate that this overall approach is based upon sound educational research. Though we employed universal design as we developed the interventions to increase the retention of all students, here I describe those interventions that are more effective at improving the retention rate of undergraduate women in engineering.
In addition to these structural classroom interventions, we have established a faculty learning community within the College of Engineering to reflect on teaching, share best practices, conduct peer observations, and help restructure key “gateway” courses in other engineering disciplines. A summary of these FLC workshops will also be discussed.
Finally, while we presently have anecdotal, self-reported information from students regarding many of these interventions, we have not scientifically and rigorously studied which interventions are important to which student populations or have the most significant impact on particular outcomes. I will conclude with plans for future work to explore these open questions.
Kiehlbaugh, K., & Blowers, P. (2018, April), Why Women Persist: Evaluating the Impact of Classroom-based Interventions Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29594
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