Gateway into first-year stem curricula: A community college/university collaboration promoting retention and articulation

Michele Wheatly, Nathan Klingbeil, Bor Jang, George Sehi, Richard Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes an NSF STEP collaboration between Wright State University (WSU) and Sinclair Community College (SCC) to develop a common first-year STEM experience, which aims to increase first-to-second year retention at both SCC and WSU, as well as articulation of STEM majors from SCC to WSU. While STEM attrition is a problem throughout the 4-6 years of college study, the first-year experience (FYE) is most critical to retention of students in STEM disciplines. Thus, a focus on promoting success in the first year will help to ensure that students remain in STEM disciplines, as opposed to switching majors or dropping out. The primary barrier to success in Engineering/ Technology is the mathematics "gateway" calculus sequence; the barrier to success in Science/Mathematics is general innumeracy and scientific illiteracy. Prior NSF support of WSU's National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education has shown that the introduction of EGR 101 "Introductory Mathematics for Engineering Applications," coupled with a significant restructuring of the early engineering curriculum, has resulted in a significant increase in first-to-second year retention, as well as increased student motivation and confidence in math and engineering. Based on this prior success, the current NSF STEP initiative will: 1) Implement EGR 101 and the associated engineering curriculum reforms at SCC. 2) Develop a companion lab-based class for science majors (Scientific Thought and Method), SM 101/ASE 101, for instruction at both WSU and SCC. 3) Provide professional development opportunities for faculty at both institutions. 4) Train STEM seniors/graduate students to serve as lab/recitation assistants and peer tutors for any introductory STEM classes. 5) Disseminate the curriculum and associated first-year experience. The above educational treatments will make the curriculum substantially more accessible to all incoming students, and particularly to those who have been historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines. This model is therefore highly appropriate for other metropolitan university/community college dyads with similarly diverse enrollments. While this NSF STEP initiative has only just begun, this paper will provide an overview of the motivation, goals and development to date of the program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event114th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Gateway into first-year stem curricula: A community college/university collaboration promoting retention and articulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this