The financial disadvantage of many students at the [College Name, University Name] is often connected with inadequate academic preparation through K-12 education and limited family guidance. Hence, many students, including those who are academically-talented, experience significant challenges in achieving their academic goals. With support from NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM), the Culturally Adaptive Pathway to Success (CAPS) program aims to build an inclusive pathway to accelerate the graduation for academically talented, low-income students in Engineering and Computer Science majors at [University Name], which traditionally serves the underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged minority students in the [City Name area].
CAPS focuses on progressively developing social and career competence in our students via three integrated interventions: (1) Mentor+, a relationally informed advising strategy that encourages students to see their academic work in relation to their families and communities; (2) peer cohorts, providing social support structure for students and enhancing their sense of belonging in engineering and computer science classrooms and beyond; and (3) professional development from faculty who have been trained in difference-education theory, so that they can support students with varying levels of understanding of the antecedents of college success. The program has been implementing these interventions through a variety of activities including Mentor+ advisement sessions, field trips, professional seminars, a sophomore learning cluster, and participation by scholars in professional conferences. To ensure success of these interventions, the CAPS program places great emphasis on developing culturally responsive advisement methods and training faculty mentors to facilitate creating a culture of culturally adaptive advising.
The educational research side of the CAPS program focuses on studying (a) how these interventions affect the development of social belonging and engineering identity of CAPS scholars, and (b) the impact of Mentor+ on academic resilience and progress to degree. The findings will help enhance the CAPS program and establish a sustainable Scholars Support Program at the university, which can be implemented with scholarships funded by other sources, and which can be transferred to similar culturally diverse institutions to increase success for students who have socio-economic challenges.
This paper presents our current progress and core activities of the CAPS program. In particular, we will share our practices on recruitment process and mentor training program. Through a structured outreach, 12 CAPS scholars have been recruited (7 Hispanic and 6 female). Led by an educational psychologist who is also a Co-PI on the project, the training for faculty mentors focuses on increasing the awareness of growth mindset and developing a culturally responsive mentoring procedure. In Summer and Fall 18, group and individual mentoring sessions have taken place following the culturally responsive mentoring strategy. In addition to program activities, the paper will also share the data collected through scholar and faculty surveys and report the lessons learned during the first-year implementation.
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