July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Minorities in Engineering
This work in progress presents the development and implementation of and Individual Development Plan (IDP) for undergraduate engineering students. The IDP was designed and tailored as one of several strategies to increase retention and graduation rates for engineering students participating in the Program for Engineering Access, Retention, and LIATS Success (PEARLS). This program provides scholarships to low income, academically talented students (LIATS), and promotes their academic success and on-time graduation. A key element of PEARLS is a mentoring component where each student is assigned a faculty mentor from his or her own study program. Faculty mentors are responsible of following-up students’ progress and for providing individual guidance and support to promote their professional growth. The IDP is the major tool used by mentors to track students’ progress, to keep students focused on their goals, and for reviewing their progress.
Motivation is a key component for developing resilience and persistence. Research has demonstrated that having a plan improves the probability of success in proposed activities and goals included in such plan. In the case of an IDP, it increases students’ awareness of the necessary steps to achieve their academic goals, remain on track, and constantly assess their progress.
PEARLS students complete their IDP’s after completing a self-assessment questionnaire in which they identify their academic strengths and weaknesses in multiple areas considered important for academic success and professional practice. Self-assessment results are discussed with mentors and strategies to work with identified weaknesses. The IDP is a dynamic document which is revised, at least, yearly.
This paper presents the process of developing PEARLS IDP’s and students’ outcomes from participating in PEARLS. The IDP fosters students’ interest in research and professional experiences during their undergraduate program and as a product of the discussion and planning of possible experiences with mentees we have observed an increase in their participation in research, either in or off-campus, COOP, or internship experiences. The results from the first year of the PEARLS program shows that 76 out of the 90 undergraduate students participated voluntary in professional development activities not required by the program. Of these; 18% participated in COOP experiences, 2% participated of an internship, 14% conducted off-campus research and 58% in-campus research, and eight percent (8%) performed other services such as: special projects, community work, and volunteering. Students have recognized the IDP as a valuable tool for their academic growth and in their decision-making process. The PEARLS IDP is an adaptation of work done by researchers from the University of Florida, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, AAAS, and SACNAS.
Bartolomei-Suarez, S. M., & Lopez del Puerto, C., & Quintero, P. O., & Guillemard, L., & Santiago-Román, A. I., & Rodriguez-Martinez, M., & Jimenez, M. A., & Santiago, N. G., & Cardona-Martinez, N., & Suarez, O. M. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Building Career Goals and Boosting Self-efficacy in Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38126
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