Creating an Effective Retention Program
The Choose Ohio First Scholarship program is designed to significantly strengthen Ohio’s competitiveness within STEMM disciplines and STEMM education.
The Choose Ohio First Program is the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science’s retention program for first year students. There are 36 freshman engineering students currently enrolled in the cohort of STEMM students. Through the program the students receive competitive scholarship funding and professional development workshops which help prepare them to enter into the STEMM workforce.
Prior to their Freshman year, students participate in a summer bridge program. The students spend seven weeks in a real-life college environment. They live in a residence hall and are enrolled in courses such as Pre-Calculus/Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, English and Engineering Models. Upon arrival on campus for the residential program, the students take assessment examinations to determine the courses in which they will be placed in the Fall and/or Spring semesters.
At the beginning of each semester of their first year, students are enrolled in Collaborative courses for Calculus. These classes meet for one-two hours per week. The students are also required to attend monthly workshops and/or socials which are facilitated by corporate partners who provide the students with guidance on being successful in their courses and their co-op experiences.
As part of the retention program, students are required to perform fifteen (15) hours of community service each semester, complete and essay related to their experience, complete reflections after the monthly socials to share their learned experiences, meet once per semester with their Choose Ohio First Program coaches and track their progress using our e-portfolio system. We monitor the students’ experiences through surveys and self-reflections and well as through progress reports from their professors. Our results are then compared to other students in the College of Engineering.
Successes and opportunities for improvement, program compliance data and next steps will be shared in the conference paper.
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