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Award Abstract #1317238

INCREASING RETENTION IN ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE WITH A FOCUS ON AT-RISK FIRST YEAR AND SOPHOMORE STUDENTS

NSF Org: DUE
Division Of Undergraduate Education
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Initial Amendment Date: May 7, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: May 7, 2013
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Award Number: 1317238
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Connie K. Della-Piana
DUE Division Of Undergraduate Education
EHR Direct For Education and Human Resources
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Start Date: May 15, 2013
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End Date: April 30, 2018 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $446,307.00
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Investigator(s): Sharon Jones joness@up.edu (Principal Investigator)
Tammy VanDeGrift (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Portland
5000 N Willamette Blvd
Portland, OR 97203-5743 (503)943-8004
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NSF Program(s): Jobs Council
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Program Reference Code(s): 8215, 9178, SMET
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Program Element Code(s): 8281

ABSTRACT

This project is being supported under a special funding focus for STEP, "Graduate 10K+," an activity of the National Science Foundation, supported in part by donations from the Intel Foundation and the GE Foundation, to stimulate comprehensive action at universities and colleges to help increase the annual number of new B.S. graduates in engineering and computer science by 10,000 over the next decade. In particular, this project team is focusing on first-time, first-year college students who are not calculus ready, and first-time sophomore students who are missing up to two courses necessary to be classified as part of their class-level cohort. Students with these characteristics are "at risk" of leaving their engineering and computer science courses of study, even though they may be in good academic standing. The intellectual merit of the project lies in its coordinated adaptation of a set of best practices: 1) dedicated counseling throughout the academic year regarding attaining and keeping cohort status, 2) an academic Summer Bridge program for non-calculus ready first-year students, and 3) ongoing retention tracking for various sub-populations within the institution. A dedicated STEP counselor is coordinating weekly individual and group program meetings designed to guide students throughout the academic year, to advise on key summer course selections, if needed to regain cohort status, and to use available tutoring and workshop services to avoid withdrawals. The project's broader impacts are being realized through the framing of the project as a research study to investigate the connection between maintaining class-level cohort status and retention, and leveraging professional opportunities at national and regional conferences to draw attention to the broader set of efforts at boosting retention in STEM and build a community of practitioners.

 

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