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Title: Scholarship Program Initiative via Recruitment, Innovation, and Transformation
The National Science Foundation’s funded ($625,179) SPIRIT: Scholarship Program Initiative via Recruitment, Innovation, and Transformation at Western Carolina University creates a new approach to the recruitment, retention, education, and placement of academically talented and financially needy engineering and engineering technology students. Twenty-Seven new and continuing students were recruited into horizontally and vertically integrated cohorts that will be nurtured and developed in a Project Based Learning (PBL) community characterized by extensive faculty mentoring, fundamental and applied undergraduate research, hands-on design projects, and industry engagement. Our horizontal integration method creates sub-cohorts with same-year students from different disciplines (electrical, mechanical, etc.) to work in an environment that reflects how engineers work in the real world. Our vertical integration method enables sub-cohorts from different years to work together on different stages of projects in a PBL setting. The objectives of the SPIRIT program will ensure an interdisciplinary environment that enhances technical competency through learning outcomes that seek to improve critical skills such as intentional learning, problem solving, teamwork, management, interpersonal communications, and leadership. Support for the student scholars participating in this program incorporates several existing support services offered by the host institution and school, including a university product development center. This paper will discuss more » several aspects of the program including participant selection and initial cohort demographics; implementation of the vertical-based cohort model in PBL; program and student assessment models; and associated student activities and artifact collection used to foster student success in the program and after graduation. Successful implementation of the SPIRIT program will create a replicable model that will broadly impact 21st century engineering education and workforce preparedness. « less
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
26.1356.1 to 26.1356.13
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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