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Hot Topic: A new model for thinking about … and talking about … engineering student support centers

Tuesday, April 3, 2018  
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Though engineering student support centers (ESSCs) have common goals, the methods ESSCs use to reach these goal and the ways they define “success” often varies.  This variability has sometimes made it difficult to think about ESSCs collectively and may have hampered the ability to communicate about results or engage in strategic planning. A common language is needed to facilitate these discussions.

A new paper in the July issue of the Journal of Engineering Education may help the NAMEPA community to build a common language to discuss ESSCs. Authors Lee and Matusovich propose a model of co-curricular support that classifies center outcomes. Their model could lead to the establishment of agreed-upon terms to describe ESSCs.

The paper provides a second service to the NAMEPA community.  The interview questions Dr. Lee used to create the model, listed below, are vital questions that could be used to begin strategic discussions.

  • What  purposes do you think your center serves within the your institution?
  • With that purpose in mind, what interventions are most critical to your center achieving its mission? Why?
  • What advantages/disadvantages do you believe a student experiences if they participate in the programs and activities offered through your center?
  • How do you measure the success of these programs and activities?
  • Do you believe the experiences of students who chose to be involved with your center are different from those who choose not to be involved? If so, how?

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