STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Gateway into First-Year STEM Curricula: A Community College/University Collaboration Promoting Retention and Articulation

This project has institutionalized groundbreaking innovations in first-year STEM curricula which have uncorked traditional bottlenecks to student retention and success in STEM.

This project is a collaboration between Wright State University (WSU) and Sinclair Community College (SCC) to develop a common first-year STEM experience, which aims to increase first-to-second year retention at both SCC and WSU, as well as articulation of STEM majors from SCC to WSU. While STEM attrition is a problem throughout the 4-6 years of college study, the first-year experience (FYE) is most critical to retention of students in STEM disciplines. The primary barrier to success in Engineering/Technology is the traditional “gateway” calculus sequence; the barrier to success in Science/Mathematics is general innumeracy and scientific illiteracy. Now in no-cost extension, this project has successfully institutionalized groundbreaking innovations in first-year STEM curricula which have effectively uncorked the above traditional bottlenecks to student retention and success. These have included the expansion of Wright State's EGR 101 Introductory Mathematics for Engineering Applications to Sinclair Community College, the introduction of EGR 199 as a pre-cursor to EGR 101 for initially underprepared students, and the development of a companion SM 101 Scientific Thought and Method course for science majors. The above educational treatments have made the curriculum substantially more accessible to all incoming students, and particularly to those who have been historically underrepresented in STEM. Coupled with steadily increasing STEM enrollments, the result has more than doubled our evaluation benchmark of 50 additional STEM graduates per year – with an additional 64 graduates coming from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) alone. This model is intended to be readily transferable to other metropolitan university/community college dyads with comparable open admissions policies.

Lead Author

  • Nathan Klingbeil

Institution Information

  • Name: Wright State University
  • State: OH

Poster Information

  • ID: CI-005
  • Disciplinary Focus: All STEM
  • Award Number: 0622466
  • Project Year 5+