Title

The Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP) at CWU: Improving Recruitment and Retention of College Students in STEM

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

STEM, Recruiting, Retention

Abstract

The CWU Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP), supported by the National Science Foundation and COTS, continues work toward increasing the number of students completing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees. STEP focuses on recruiting and retaining traditionally underrepresented students in STEM disciplines by providing academic, social, and financial support. Efforts to recruit STEP students are accomplished though the fully-institutionalized STEM recruiting program housed within CWU Admissions. Retention efforts focus on preparing students for rigorous STEM classes by engaging them in inquiry-based projects that encourage and develop critical-thinking skills, and allowing them to perform student-designed research projects. Freshman students participate in the STEP Freshman Science Seminar Series, a series of courses that explores interdisciplinary STEM topics. Freshman students write proposals to engage in faculty-mentored research and teaching experiences during their sophomore year. STEP transfer students engage in two courses that prepare them for faculty-mentored research and teaching experiences. STEP has served 465+ students over the past decade (2003/04-2013/14). Statistical measures demonstrate that STEP is succeeding in improving retention and academic performance of STEM majors. When compared to the STEM control group, STEP students declare STEM majors to a greater extent and have higher GPAs. Students have indicated that the key aspects of STEP that enhance student success include participation in the STEP Living Learning Community (LLC), close professional ties between students and faculty/staff, and financial support. The now fully-institutionalized CWU STEP program can serve as a model for non-STEM disciplines to improve recruiting and retention of students, particularly underrepresented students.

Poster Number

48

Faculty Mentor(s)

Nye, Jessica

Additional Mentoring Department

STEP

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May 15th, 8:30 AM May 15th, 11:00 AM

The Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP) at CWU: Improving Recruitment and Retention of College Students in STEM

SURC Ballroom C/D

The CWU Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP), supported by the National Science Foundation and COTS, continues work toward increasing the number of students completing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees. STEP focuses on recruiting and retaining traditionally underrepresented students in STEM disciplines by providing academic, social, and financial support. Efforts to recruit STEP students are accomplished though the fully-institutionalized STEM recruiting program housed within CWU Admissions. Retention efforts focus on preparing students for rigorous STEM classes by engaging them in inquiry-based projects that encourage and develop critical-thinking skills, and allowing them to perform student-designed research projects. Freshman students participate in the STEP Freshman Science Seminar Series, a series of courses that explores interdisciplinary STEM topics. Freshman students write proposals to engage in faculty-mentored research and teaching experiences during their sophomore year. STEP transfer students engage in two courses that prepare them for faculty-mentored research and teaching experiences. STEP has served 465+ students over the past decade (2003/04-2013/14). Statistical measures demonstrate that STEP is succeeding in improving retention and academic performance of STEM majors. When compared to the STEM control group, STEP students declare STEM majors to a greater extent and have higher GPAs. Students have indicated that the key aspects of STEP that enhance student success include participation in the STEP Living Learning Community (LLC), close professional ties between students and faculty/staff, and financial support. The now fully-institutionalized CWU STEP program can serve as a model for non-STEM disciplines to improve recruiting and retention of students, particularly underrepresented students.