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Work in Progress: Peer-based Programming in Undergraduate Engineering

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2019 FYEE Conference


Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

M1C: WIP - Readiness and Professional Development

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Jennifer L Johrendt University of Windsor

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Dr. Johrendt is the Assistant Dean - Student Affairs for the Faculty of Engineering and an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering at the University of Windsor. She holds degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston (B.Sc., M.A.Sc.) and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Windsor (Ph.D.). She began a career in automotive research as a product development engineer at the University of Windsor/Chrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC), conducting vehicle durability studies and associated research activities in the Road Test Simulation (RTS) laboratory. In 2005, Dr. Johrendt joined the University of Windsor and developed her research in the areas of Engineering Education as well as neural network models for automotive design and simulation with the goal of accelerating product development. Additional work related to the field of composites includes design for light weighting structures for automotive and aerospace applications. in 2018, Dr. Johrendt took an administrative role as the Assistant Dean - Student Affairs, leading the WINONE Office of First Year Engineering, also responsible for outreach and recruiting for the Faculty of Engineering.

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Jennifer Laura Sears University of Windsor

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Jennifer Sears
BASc. Mechanical Engineering, EIT, Graduate Assistant
Department of Mechanical, Automotive & Materials Engineering
University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Professional Experience:
10 + years with General Motors of Canada
4T40E automatic transmission (Supervision/Mainline assembly/Test-stand/Dynamometer/Production control & Quality engineering)

BASc. Mechanical Engineering (Oct 2016)
Capstone: SAE BAJA (front suspension)
MASc. Candidate (2018- current)

Research: Automotive composites/Neural networks


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The University of Windsor, located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, is a mid-size comprehensive university. The Faculty of Engineering currently has a cohort of approximately 1500 full and part time undergraduate students, 25% of which are international students. This diverse group of students creates a rich environment for faculty and students. Offering programs that create a supportive faculty community is the responsibility of the WINONE Office of First Year Engineering. Since WINONE’s inception in 2007, when engineering undergraduate enrollment was approximately 1000 full and part time students, it has served as the home department for all first-year students enrolled in our common first year program and has spearheaded recruitment efforts for all undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Engineering, including extensive outreach programming to local schools and community organizations. The University of Windsor, like other post-secondary institutions, has a specific focus on student experience as described in the University’s Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) with the Government of Ontario, and has dedicated resources to support programming that will improve students’ perception of their experience. In addition to institutional retention metrics, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a tool that is useful in gauging the long-term effectiveness of the proposed initiatives.

Recently, student requests for personal tutoring referrals have increased. As well, requests from prospective students to shadow undergraduate students on a one-to-one basis have multiplied. To date, WINONE relies on undergraduate volunteers to respond to these individual requests. The need for more structured programming that promotes undergraduate peer-mentors can benefit the students and WINONE as the facilitator of these types of programs. By managing these peer-mentoring programs, WINONE can ensure that students can receive official recognition of their involvement.

This paper provides background and status of current and planned initiatives in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Windsor building a peer-mentoring program by way of individual modules that together benefit our undergraduate students as mentors and mentees. Our new Iron Pin ceremony instills a sense of community and reminds engineering students about their duties to work ethically and practice equity from their first day of classes. Our new WINONE Tutorial program provides peer-tutoring services free of charge to first- and second-year students by senior students who excelled in their courses and have expressed a desire to mentor their juniors. Future plans include development of a system to officially recognize students for their consistent participation as volunteers for faculty outreach and recruiting events, local engineering and leadership conferences, serving on faculty student societies, and the like from their first to fourth years of study. Their individual successes, first as mentees then as peer-mentors and finally as graduates and alumni will result in positive outcomes for the University’s Engineering programs and ultimately bolster retention and future recruiting efforts.

Johrendt, J. L., & Sears, J. L. (2019, July), Work in Progress: Peer-based Programming in Undergraduate Engineering Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania.

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