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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.
Dr. Beth Powell has a doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville. Her research is in engineering communication, and she works as the Assistant Director for the College of Engineering Student Success Center at Tennessee Tech University.
Harry Ingle, Jr., a Nashville native, graduated from Tennessee Technological University with his B.S. in Business Administration and Masters of Arts in Educational Psychology & Counseling. Mr. Ingle is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN (ABD). He currently serves as the Director of Diversity, Recruitment, and Student Success for the College of Engineering at Tennessee Technological University. Additionally, Mr. Ingle works as an adjunct for the English department, where he regularly teaches students how to communicate during oral presentations effectively.
Mr. Ingle serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Omicron Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and Engineering Joint Council (EJC) at Tennessee Tech University. Additionally, he serves as the Chairman of the Putnam County Library Board of Trustees and the Chief Financial Officer for Cookeville IMPACT Inc., a non-profit organization in Cookeville, TN, that works to motivate and empower people of color in the Upper Cumberland region and beyond. Mr. Ingle is also an Ambassador for the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and works to serve his community year-round.
Kumar Yelamarthi received his Ph.D. and M.S degree from Wright State University in 2008 and 2004, and B.E. from University of Madras, India in 2000. He is currently the Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech University. He did serve as the Director for the School of Engineering and Technology, and Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and at Central Michigan University (CMU). He did serve as the chair for Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering programs at CMU. His research interest is in the areas of wireless sensor networks, Internet of Things, assistive devices, mobile robots, embedded systems, and engineering education. He has published over 150 articles in archival journals and conference proceedings and delivered over 75 talks in these areas. He has served as a chair, technical program committee chair, treasurer for several IEEE/ASME/ASEE international conferences, and as a reviewer and panelist for numerous externally funded proposals. He served as the general chair for 2016 ASEE NCS Conference, 2011 ASEE NCS conference, Technical Committee Member for IEEE ISVLSI, IEEE MWSCAS, IEEE WF-IoT, and currently serves on the editorial board for International Journal of Forensic Software Engineering. He has served as the Chair of IEEE Northeast Michigan Section, and vice-chair for ASEE North Central Section. He served as PI, co-PI, and senior personnel in several externally funded grants from organizations such as NSF, NASA, and the regional industry. He is a founding advisor for the IEEE Student Chapter at CMU, an elected member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society, a senior member of IEEE, and a senior member of IETI.
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