Lincoln University of Pennsylvania's project entitled: Lincoln's Excellent Academic Program in Science: Forward, aims at consolidating and sustaining the efforts of the previous project to significantly increase the pool of minority students for degrees and careers in the sciences.
The main goals of this project are: a) to improve students' performance in targeted gate-keeping STEM courses thus reducing attrition rate and increasing retention and graduation rate in STEM disciplines; b) to improve students' learning and study skills and their commitment to succeed in college, and thereby increase retention and graduation rate of STEM majors; and c) to enhance students' preparation and readiness for professional and graduate school.
These goals will be realized through a structured Supplemental Instruction program, the infusion of undergraduate research into the college experience of STEM majors from the time of their enrollment into Lincoln University, and a structured preparatory program for facilitating admission into graduate and professional schools. Students who enroll in Lincoln's science programs will be mentored, counseled, advised and supported throughout their college careers to ensure that they are successful.
The project will strengthen Lincoln University's capability to significantly increase the pool of its science and mathematics graduates as well as the number of Lincoln's graduates gaining admission to graduate and professional schools. The nation will benefit from the increase of minority graduates and a better trained workforce in STEM disciplines.
are aimed at increasing student STEM retention and graduation and to successfully prepare students for professional and graduate school. The project objectives target the improvement of student learning and study skills, particularly in STEM gateway courses with high rates of student attrition, and student involvement in scientific research. Project activities concentrate on two key intervention components: supplemental instruction (SI) and research experiences for undergraduates. The key questions addressed include the following: To what extent does Supplemental Instruction (SI) enhance STEM gateway courses and improve student learning? Methodology employed a mixed methods design and included review of project documents and materials, administration of student pre-semester surveys, and interviews of the project team, faculty, and qualitative analysis was completed using the constant comparative method. Student surveys were analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics. Overall, the LEAPS: Forward project was effectively implemented regarding SI and research experiences for undergraduates. Evidence of effective pilot implementation is based on the following indicators: High course participatory levels in SI – 93% of the SI-designated courses, 81% of the SI-designated sections, and 92% of SI-designated faculty retained in pilot program. Range of student involvement in research component reflected participants at every year of study. Substantive number of first year students recruited to the research component represented more than a third (37%) of the applicants and a third of selected participants. Student benefits resulting from research component include developed proficiency in laboratory techniques and procedures, enhanced understanding of the nature of science, and bridging the divide between research and practice SI was piloted in 14 STEM gateway courses in the following subjects: biology (3), chemistry (4), mathematics (4), computer science (1), and physics (2). A total of 371 students were enrolled in the SI-designated STEM courses and had access to SI sessions during the semester. Our results show that SI students performed better in STEM gateway courses than their non-SI peers. Across all SI courses, the highest GPAs were earned at attendance levels of at least eleven SI sessions or more. Students who attended five (5) SI sessions or less did not, on average, pass their courses. Pass rates in chemistry increased 19% followed closely by mathematics with a gain of 18%. Pass rates in physics also increased by 6.5%. Students who did not attend SI did not pass chemistry on average. Students who attended SI at least six (6) times passed their biology courses. The encouraging report has enabled us to make SI mandatory from Fall 2014 for all gate-keeping courses.