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Enhancing the Success of Minority STEM Students by Providing Financial, Academic, Social, and Cultural CapitalResearch has shown that student achievement is influenced by their access to, or possession of, various forms of capital. These forms of capital include financial capital, academic capital (prior academic preparation and access to academic support services), cultural capital (the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors related to education which students are exposed to by members of their family or community), and social capital (the resources students have access to as a result of being members of groups or networks). For community college students, many with high financial need and the first in their families to go to college (especially those from underrepresented minority groups), developing programs to increase access to these various forms of capital is critical to their success. This paper describes how a small federally designated Hispanic-serving community college has developed a scholarship program for financially needy community college students intending to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. Developed through a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant, the program involves a collaboration among STEM faculty, college staff, administrators, student organizations, and partners in industry, four-year institutions, local high schools, and professional organizations. In addition tomore »
There has been a recent increase in awareness of the important role that community colleges play in educating future engineers, especially in broadening participation among students from underrepresented groups. However, budget problems at the state and national levels have resulted in continuing budget cuts in community colleges. With limited resources while responding to increasing variability of lower-division transfer curricula as required by four-year engineering programs, it has become increasingly difficult for small community college engineering programs to support all the courses needed by students to transfer. Meanwhile, transfer admissions have become increasingly more competitive because of budget cuts in four-year universities. As a result, prospective engineering students who attend community colleges with limited or no engineering course offerings are at a disadvantage for both transfer admission as well as time to completion upon transfer. This paper is a description of a collaborative project among community college engineering programs in California to address this problem by aligning engineering curriculum, enhancing teaching effectiveness using Tablet PCs, and increasing access to engineering courses through online education. The project includes a Summer Engineering Teaching Institute designed to assist community college engineering faculty in developing a Tablet-PC-enhanced model of instruction, and implementing online courses. Themore »
Using Financial Support to Create a Learning Community Among Diverse Community College STEM StudentsAlthough many California Community College students from underrepresented groups enter college with high levels of interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the majority of them drop out or change majors even before taking transfer-level courses due to a variety of reasons including financial difficulties, inadequate academic preparation, lack of family support, poor study skills, and inadequate or ineffective academic advising and mentoring. In 2009, Cañada College, a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution in the San Francisco Bay Area, received a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant to develop a scholarship program for financially needy community college students intending to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. In collaboration with the College’s Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program – an academic, personal, and professional support structure has been designed and implemented to maximize the likelihood of success of these students. This support structure aims to create a learning community among the scholars through a combination of academic counseling and mentoring, personal enrichment and professional development opportunities, and strong academic support services. This paper describes how faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, student organizations, and partners in industry, four-yearmore »
The California Community College system has been very successful in providing affordable and accessible education to diverse student populations by allowing them to complete all of their lower-division course work and then transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree. Recent developments, however, have threatened the viability of engineering programs in California community colleges, endangering this very important pipeline in the engineering educational system. The increasing divergence of the lower-division requirements among different four-year institutions and among the different fields of engineering, coupled with the recent State budget crisis has forced many community colleges to cancel low-enrollment classes and high-cost programs including those in engineering. In response to this situation, Cañada College, a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution in the San Francisco Bay Area, has developed an innovative program entitled Online and Networked Education for Students in Transfer Engineering Programs (ONE-STEP). Funded by the National Science Foundation Engineering Education and Centers through the Innovation in Engineering Education and Curriculum, and Infrastructure (IEECI) program, ONE-STEP aims to improve community college engineering education through the use of Tablet-PC and wireless network technologies. The program includes a Summer Engineering Teaching Institute that will assist community college engineering faculty in developing a Tablet-PC-enhancedmore »