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Work in Progress: A Transferable Model to Improve Retention and Student Success in STEM through Undergraduate Research (NSF LEARN Consortium)

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 9: Persistence and Retention

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

7

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33587

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33587

Download Count

165

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Paper Authors

biography

Daniel Meeroff Florida Atlantic University

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Daniel Meeroff is Professor and Associate Chair at Florida Atlantic University’s Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatics Engineering. His area of specialization is Environmental Engineering, specifically water and wastewater engineering, water quality, solid and hazardous waste management, and pollution prevention. Dr. Meeroff is the founder and director of the Laboratories for Engineered Environmental Solutions (Lab.EES) (http:\\labees.civil.fau.edu). His Ph.D. in civil/environmental engineering was received from the University of Miami.

Dr. Meeroff was awarded the FAU Teaching Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (2017), the FAU Distinguished Research Mentor of the Year (2015), the John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year for North America in 2014, and the FAU Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 2014 (as voted by the student body), which is the highest teaching honor at the university. In 2012, Dr. Meeroff and his colleague, Dr. Bloetscher, received the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education for their work on the Dania Beach Nanofiltration Facility, which is the first LEED-Gold water treatment facility in the world.

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Donna Chamely-Wiik Florida Atlantic University

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Dr. Donna Chamely-Wiik is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include faculty and student involvement in undergraduate research, including an assessment of the impact of pedagogical interventions on student learning, development and perception.

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William R. Kwochka Western Carolina University

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Evelyn Marques Frazier Florida Atlantic University

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Jordan Merritt Florida Atlantic University

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Michael Aldarondo-Jeffries University of Central Florida

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Alison I. Morrison-Shetlar Western Carolina University

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Kimberly R. Schneider University of Central Florida

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Kimberly Schneider is the founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and also serves as the Assistant Dean within the Division of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Florida. She has a B.S. from the University of Florida in Zoology and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in Biological Sciences. Her research interests are in marine ecology, science education, and high-impact learning practices.

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Abstract

The National Science Foundation LEARN Consortium is a partnership involving the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Western Carolina University. The goal of the program is to create a transferrable model that improves retention and student success measures in STEM students by successfully engaging them in undergraduate research experiences. The program is specifically targeted for first time in college (FTIC) freshman (F-LEARN) and transfer students (T-LEARN) who have received their AA degree and are enrolling in a STEM major. The LEARN program has three main pillars: 1) Academics/Research, which consists of a two-course, team-taught introduction to research sequence, where the first course focuses on matching students to research faculty mentors and preparing students to successfully apply for internal/external research opportunities, and the second course builds upon the research skills foundation from the introductory course to further develop and defend a research proposal, while working in the lab with a faculty mentor; 2) Mentoring, which consists of a multi-tiered mentoring approach designed to support the students with peer mentors, lab/faculty mentors, and a program mentor; and 3) Community Building, which consists of living/learning opportunities, social programming, and other non-research related extracurricular activities. The assessment measures to determine program impact include comparisons between intuitions and paired control groups using before and after results of the Critical-thinking and Assessment Test (CAT), GPA, credits earned, and retention. A mechanism to directly evaluate evidence of student learning through scholarly writing assignments completed in the introductory research courses was developed by FAU and used at the other two partner institutions. The assessment of embedded measures of student learning outcomes in these writing assignments was conducted by evaluating one writing assignment in each semester. The assessments were evaluated using the same rubric developed by FAU. The major findings for the first full year of the program that started in Fall 2016 show that students participating in LEARN demonstrate improvements in critical thinking, credits earned, and retention characteristics, while maintaining similar grade point averages when compared to the control group. As each cohort of students nears graduation, the authors will test the hypothesis that the LEARN program improves embedded measures of student learning, retention, student success, and probability of placement in summer research opportunities and graduate school, compared to a matched control group who did not participate in the program.

Meeroff, D., & Chamely-Wiik, D., & Kwochka, W. R., & Frazier, E. M., & Merritt, J., & Aldarondo-Jeffries, M., & Morrison-Shetlar, A. I., & Schneider, K. R. (2019, June), Work in Progress: A Transferable Model to Improve Retention and Student Success in STEM through Undergraduate Research (NSF LEARN Consortium) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33587

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