CUES: Cornell University Engineering Success Program
This project is being supported under a special funding focus for STEP, "Graduate 10K+," an activity of the National Science Foundation, supported in part by donations from the Intel Foundation and the GE Foundation, to stimulate comprehensive action at universities and colleges to help increase the annual number of new B.S. graduates in engineering and computer science by 10,000 over the next decade. Building on Cornell Engineering's strong record of recruitment of underrepresented minority (URM) students, the goal of the Cornell University Engineering Success Program (CUES) is to realize the promise implicit in the recruiting success by increasing the retention and graduation rate of URM and first generation college (FGC) students to a level equal to the overall engineering student body. CUES is leveraging investments already made in recruiting, in the pre-freshman summer and in the first year experience to increase the number of Cornell-educated engineers. The CUES project team is implementing three research-proven interventions that address known barriers to the success of highly qualified and talented engineering students: a spatial reasoning course; an engineering math institute combining tuition support for summer courses, collaborative learning and research; and enhanced tutoring. The three proposed interventions, coupled to existing support programs such as mentoring, early intervention and tutoring for first and second year courses support students at points where both the literature and experience at Cornell show it is most needed. The spatial reasoning course is developing a lasting, foundational skill needed for success in gateway mathematics and science classes. The Engineering Math Institute is giving students a chance to get back on track with the core mathematics curriculum and to gain exposure to learning through discovery in a research context. Enhanced tutoring is supporting the success of students in the majors where retention data show that additional attrition occurs. A direct result of the CUES program is the expectation of an additional 170 Cornell Engineering graduates, most of them URM students. Beyond the immediate impact of these additional engineers, the CUES Program is developing a model of how the integration of proven interventions with a comprehensive support network for URM and FGC students can make a significant impact on one of the most difficult challenges to overcome in increasing the number of U.S. engineering and computer science graduates.