2022 First-Year Engineering Experience

WIP: Eagle ExCEL-Engineers Connect, Engage, and Learn: An At-Risk Advising Program

Presented at Technical Session M1

To address retention, attrition, and persistence issues, we have created an at-risk advising program for students who are deemed “academically at risk” in the College of Engineering. The designation includes students on warning, probation, or returning from suspension. The program, Eagle ExCEL- Engineers Connect, Engage, and Learn, was created in collaboration with the CoE administration and professional advisors to help improve students’ experiences and chances for success. Unfortunately, when students in engineering fail a class or classes or receive a grade of “D” their time to graduation may increase, leading to unsatisfactory outcomes for all stakeholders involved, especially students. The current percentage of students in our CoE who are at risk is currently over 10%. In addition to increased time to graduation, at-risk studentsmay have difficulties returning to good standing and even graduating (Berkowitz & O’Quin, 2006). In fact, historical data from our university shows that CoE undergraduates whose first year GPA is below the 2.0 required to graduate are at very high risk of not continuing: only 5.7% of students whose first year GPA was in this category, throughout the years 2003-2013, graduated (Student Success Collaborative, 2021).This paper describes Eagle ExCEL as well as data from evaluation from the first year of the program, which began in Fall 2021. Data indicate that goal setting with an advisor is a helpful tool for at-risk students; data also indicate that not all students need the same level of support. Moreover, we learned that there are a variety of reasons why a student may drop below good standing. We conclude by describing our next steps in enhancing and developing this program.

  1. Dr. Elizabeth A. Powell Tennessee Technological University [biography]
  2. Mr. Harry T Ingle Jr. Tennessee Technological University [biography]
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