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  1. Many university engineering programs require their students to complete a senior capstone experience to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed after graduation. Such capstone experiences typically integrate knowledge and skills learned cumulatively in the degree program, often engaging students in projects outside of the classroom. As part of an initiative to completely transform the civil engineering undergraduate program at Clemson University, a capstone-like course sequence is being incorporated into the curriculum during the sophomore year. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program, this departmental transformation (referred to asmore »the Arch initiative) is aiming to develop a culture of adaptation and a curriculum support for inclusive excellence and innovation to address the complex challenges faced by our society. Just as springers serve as the foundation stones of an arch, the new courses are called “Springers” because they serve as the foundations of the transformed curriculum. The goal of the Springer course sequence is to expose students to the “big picture” of civil engineering while developing student skills in professionalism, communication, and teamwork through real-world projects and hands-on activities. The expectation is that the Springer course sequence will allow faculty to better engage students at the beginning of their studies and help them understand how future courses contribute to the overall learning outcomes of a degree in civil engineering. The Springer course sequence is team-taught by faculty from both civil engineering and communication, and exposes students to all of the civil engineering subdisciplines. Through a project-based learning approach, Springer courses mimic capstone in that students work on a practical application of civil engineering concepts throughout the semester in a way that challenges students to incorporate tools that they will build on and use during their junior and senior years. In the 2019 spring semester, a pilot of the first of the Springer courses (Springer 1; n=11) introduced students to three civil engineering subdisciplines: construction management, hydrology, and transportation. The remaining subdisciplines will be covered in a follow-on Springer 2 pilot.. The project for Springer 1 involved designing a small parking lot for a church located adjacent to campus. Following initial instruction in civil engineering topics related to the project, students worked in teams to develop conceptual project designs. A design charrette allowed students to interact with different stakeholders to assess their conceptual designs and incorporate stakeholder input into their final designs. The purpose of this paper is to describe all aspects of the Springer 1 course, including course content, teaching methods, faculty resources, and the design and results of a Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) survey to assess students’ learning outcomes. An overview of the Springer 2 course is also provided. The feedback from the SALG indicated positive attitudes towards course activities and content, and that students found interaction with project stakeholders during the design charrette especially beneficial. Challenges for full scale implementation of the Springer course sequence as a requirement in the transformed curriculum are also discussed.« less
  2. As part of an NSF IUSE/PFE:RED grant, the Clemson University Glenn Department of Civil Engineering instituted a peer mentoring program, called CE-MENT to attract and support students through a key transition point in the curriculum between general engineering and entry into the major. The program name has a dual meaning, as cement is defined as a binding agent or something serving to unite firmly. As freshmen, underrepresented minorities and females are supported by the Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention (PEER) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). However, these programs do not carry forward as students leave the commonmore »first year in General Engineering and move into their respective majors. Through the involvement of junior and senior engineering students as peer mentors for incoming sophomore students in the engineering department, the mentoring program provides valuable one-on-one guidance and contributes positively to the engineering community. The peer mentoring program was formulated to foster interaction role modeling and interdependencies among students. Studies show that such interactions and interdependencies foster students' positive perceptions of their future selves in the profession. The peer mentoring program provides the opportunity to create motivational preferences for collaboration, and to foster personal motivation for academic achievement. Specifically, the program sought to determine: the change in students' attitudes toward peer mentoring activities during their years of engineering study (from mentee to mentor); how participating in peer mentoring affects students' satisfaction with program experiences (i.e., transition, belonging, and academic success); and their intent to remain in the program.« less
  3. When examining factors affecting student academic success, it is important to consider how these factors interact with one another. Students’ affective attributes are complex in nature; thus, research methods and analyses should holistically examine how these attributes interact, not simply as a set of distinct constructs. Prior research into engineering students’ affective attributes, in which we used a validated survey to assess student motivation, identity, goal orientation, sense of belonging, career outcome expectations, grit and personality traits, demonstrated a positive correlation between perceptions of belongingness in engineering and time spent in the program. Other prior research has examined interactions betweenmore »affective attributes, for example, engineering identity as a predictor of grit (consistency of interest). However, more work is needed to examine the complex relationships between sense of belonging, engineering identity, future career outcome expectations and motivation, particularly for students in an engineering program undergoing curricular change. This paper describes a confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation model to examine how engineering identity, career outcome expectations and time-oriented motivation (specifically, students’ future time perspectives, or FTP) impact their sense of belonging in engineering, with grit (consistency of interest) as a moderator of these relationships. To conduct these analyses, we used survey data collected over two years from sophomores, juniors, and seniors enrolled in an undergraduate civil engineering program (2017-18, n=358; 2018-19, n=556). Based on descriptive statistics and initial statistical comparisons, we confirmed our prior findings that students’ sense of belonging at the course level increased with time in the program (from sophomore to senior year), and that engineering identity increased with time in the program as well. In addition, we observed that seniors had higher perceived instrumentality, a sub-construct of FTP indicating their perceived usefulness of their courses in reaching their future goals, than sophomores and juniors. We found that course belongingness and FTP have the strongest influence on belongingness compared to other affective attributes we assessed. When identity and motivation were factored in, career outcome expectations were not influential to engineering belongingness. Finally, we found that time-oriented motivation (FTP) was also a mediator of this relationship through its influence on grit (consistency of interest).« less
  4. As part of a National Science Foundation-funded initiative to completely transform the civil engineering undergraduate program at Clemson University, a capstone-like course sequence is being incorporated into the curriculum during the sophomore year. Clemson’s NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program is called the Arch Initiative. Just as springers serve as the foundation stones of an arch, the new courses are called “Springers” because they serve as the foundations of the transformed curriculum. Through a project-based learning approach, Springer courses mimic the senior capstone experience by immersing students in a semester-long practical application of civil engineering, exposing them to concepts andmore »tools in a way that challenges students to develop new knowledge that they will build on and use during their junior and senior years. In the 2019 spring semester, a pilot of the first Springer course introduced students to three civil engineering sub-disciplines: construction management, water resources, and transportation. The remaining sub-disciplines are covered in a follow-on Springer 2 pilot. The purpose of this paper is to describe all aspects of the Springer 1 course, including course content, teaching methods, faculty resources, and the design and results of a Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) survey to assess students’ learning outcomes. The feedback from the SALG indicated positive attitudes towards course activities and content. Challenges for full-scale implementation of the Springer course sequence as a requirement in the transformed curriculum are also discussed.« less