STEM Central

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Successful Engineering Education and Development Support (SEEDS) Program: Engineering Living and Learning Communities

Living and learning communities impact retention

The vision of the SEEDS Program is to build on the Clark School of Engineering’s recent recruiting success and focus on improving the retention and graduation of undergraduate engineering students. Two key measures of success are the number of students retained and ultimately, the number of students graduating from engineering.

The goals of SEEDS include: (1) facilitate the first year students’ and new transfer students’ transition into the school of engineering; (2) increase students’ commitment to engineering majors through career clarification and goal setting; (3) reduce the barriers to success that students may face, particularly those for women and underrepresented students; and (4) enhance the positive personal and environmental factors for students in engineering.

A significantly higher percentage of SEEDS students are retained in engineering after 2 years and after 3 years compared to non-SEEDS students. The SEEDS program is composed of several different components. The First Year Summer Experience (FYSE) is a three week math intensive summer orientation program for up to 40 incoming engineering and letters & sciences students. All students who successfully complete the program receive a $500 stipend in the fall. The peer mentoring program connects over 450 first year and new external transfer engineering students to small groups that meet regularly with a mentor to talk about relevant issues. Flexus: The Dr. Marilyn Berman Pollans Women in Engineering Living & Learning Community and Virtus: A Living and Learning Community for Success in Engineering provide 180 first and second year students access to gender-based, engineering living and learning environments. Students are introduced to a diverse range of mentors/ role models along with professional opportunities. The SEEDS Research Fellowships are sponsored research experiences for students who have participated in any SEEDS program. Students engage in research with a faculty mentor while enhancing their knowledge, skills and practical experience in conducting engineering research.

The engineering living and learning communities will be featured in the SEEDS poster. The Flexus and Virtus programs facilitate community and relationship building within the cohorts that participate. Students reported that they feel a strong sense of camaraderie and connection to engineering as a result of their participation. Furthermore students stated that living in the common residence hall provided a conduit to build friendships and bond with fellow engineers. (DUE 0969232)

Lead Author

  • Paige Smith


Name Organization
Tamara Fuller University of Maryland, College Park

Institution Information

  • Name: University of Maryland - College Park
  • State: MD

Poster Information

  • ID: LC-010
  • Disciplinary Focus: Engineering
  • Award Number: 0969232
  • Project Year 4