HSI Implementation and Evaluation Project: Building Paths to Civil Engineering Student Success
$499.7K Funding
4 People
With support from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program), this project aims to develop and document successful approaches to broaden access to academic success in civil engineering and improve persistence for underserved students. Appropriate support must be provided to help capable students as they transition to and move through an engineering program. A range of interventions have shown to have positive impacts individually but a comprehensive evaluation on their relative value from a programmatic perspective is lacking. These academic support and mentoring activities are expected to heighten students’ sense of belonging at a large university and build their identity as engineers. This research will quantitatively evaluate the impact of a holistic set of evidence based activities on persistence, retention, advancement rate and overall academic performance to identify the most promising interventions for inclusion and diversity in engineering programs. To assess effectiveness, an intersectional study will identify the interventions that provide the most meaningful support services for underserved groups in engineering including URM, women, and Pell recipients. Cohorts will include engineering students admitted under new admission criteria, with and without support interventions. Impacts will be assessed by quantitative measures (retention, advancement toward degree, probation status, GPA, etc.) and qualitative themes from personal narratives collected from individual interviews and focus groups. The interventions are guided by three objectives. First is to promote a sense of belonging within the academic program through focused peer and faculty mentoring and participation in student activities as individuals and in a student cohort. Second is to improve academic performance through academic support courses, tutoring and a summer academic advancement program. Third is to develop their engineering identity through internships, practitioner mentoring, career development/professionalism content, and involvement in engineering clubs. Finally, inclusive mentoring training will be provided to faculty, practitioners, and peers. Results will be shared through journal publications and professional presentations. The HSI Program aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education, broaden participation in STEM, and build capacity at HSIs. Achieving these aims, given the diverse nature and context of the HSIs, requires innovative approaches that incentivize institutional and community transformation and promote fundamental research (i) on engaged student learning, (ii) about what it takes to diversify and increase participation in STEM effectively, and (iii) that improves our understanding of how to build institutional capacity at HSIs. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Photo of D Papajohn(dpapajohn)
D Papajohn
Professor of Practice
Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics
Photo of K Lansey(lansey)
K Lansey
Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics
Photo of N Hennessey(nhennessey)
N Hennessey
Student Support Manager III
Engineering Academic Affairs
Photo of A Cimetta(cimetta)
A Cimetta
Associate Research Professor
Educational Psychology