Connects communities: Making connections for success
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The CONNECTS Communities consist of first generation, high ability, low socio-economic students. CONNECTS has two primary concerns: 1) providing financial support and 2) creating a community of scholars to help in the transition to college and the commitment to academic excellence. The program consists of several components that are designed to address these concerns: 1) financial support - a scholarship is provided for those students who have high financial need. Other considerations of scholarship awards are: first generation, math SAT, parents educational attainment, location of high school, and size of graduating class, 2) community -students attend mandatory weekly discussions facilitated by faculty mentors. Discussion topics address the social need and impact of engineering; globalization; and personal development and learning. These discussions allow students to better understand who they are, form connection to an engineering career; and form an academic community. Research, literature and behavior profiles are utilized during seminars to further explore these topics. Future plans include clustering students in the same residence hall and course Learning Community (LC). These LC clustered students are in the same science, mathematics, and engineering courses. In addition, students will attend the same Fish Camp and the Engineering Welcome and participate in mentoring activities with upper division peers and/or industry engineers. In the pilot year of the program 39 students participated. All the students were Pell grant eligible and sixty percent were also first generation college students. The first semester retention rate of these students was 87.2%, while the college-wide retention rate for first semester students is 75%. The average GPA for CONNECTS participants was 2.8 while the average for all first year students in the College of Engineering is 2.54. In this paper, we will present this model program 's components and plans for the future.
author list (cited authors)
Lee, M., Malav́e, C., & Rinehart, J.