MESA/MEP Engineering Transfer Student Success

With student success funds, the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) provided increased academic and support services focused specifically on transfer students in engineering.

Students had access to the MEP Study Center, one-on-one peer mentoring, tutoring support in targeted upper division courses, connection with faculty members, and access to the MEP Textbook Lending Library. These funds also allowed MEP to hire an additional peer mentor to focus on supporting transfer students and to augment the 2017 Engineering Transfer Transition Program (ETTP).

For the 2016-17 academic year, MEP served 191 students, an increase of 28% percent from the previous year. With these funds, we specifically targeted transfer students. Of the 191 students served, a total of 39, or 20%, were transfer students. We were able to conduct a post-qualitative evaluation and the results were extremely positive. Over 93% of respondents either somewhat or strongly agree that MEP supports their learning. The same percentage would recommend MEP to a friend. All but one of the students who were eligible to return to MEP did return in the 2017-18 academic year.

All MEP students had 24 hour access to the Study Center located in Jack Baskin School of Engineering building, and the textbook lending library. According to the post-qualitative survey results we conducted in May, the use of the study center and access to the lending library was not as beneficial as the tutoring. Although not reflected in the survey, these services were highly utilized. Of the 39 transfer students in the program 22 unique students, or 56%, received tutoring and/or borrowed textbooks. In the 2016-17 academic year, MEP tutored 14 courses for a total of 359 hours.

Initially we were going to assign faculty mentors to the transfer students, however, we decided it would be more effective to hire an additional Peer Mentor. Our current Peer Mentor model has been successful and having a Peer Mentor that could focus their work with the transfer population worked out well. They held regular office hours during Winter and Spring quarters, managed the Facebook group page, and helped coordinate two MEP events.

The Peer Mentor organized a game night to allow students to interact socially. There were 22 students that attended, and 5 of them were transfers. It was a successful turnout and the students were able to get to know each other better, which contributes to their confidence and sense of belonging.

The second event focused on transfers and their senior capstone. Depending on a student’s major, they have many capstone options and students need to make informed decisions. We invited faculty from the Bioengineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments to share with students their expectations of the senior capstone experience. There were approximately 13 students in attendance and 4 engineering staff/faculty. Of the 13 students that attended, 5 were transfers. 

Funds also supported the Engineering Transfer Transitions Program (ETTP), a four-day residential experience designed for engineering transfer students from California Community College enrolling in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. The goal of the program is to assist students with their transition into engineering academic life and to provide a comprehensive introduction to the people and resources that will help them make the most of their time and experience as a Baskin Engineering student. During the course of the program, participants are introduced to upper-division coursework, faculty, research facilities, and student support services, while also participating in community building opportunities. The program is free to participants and provides a $50 stipend to offset travel expenses to those who successfully complete the program.

ETTP began on July 24, 2017 and ended on July 27, 2017 to facilitate their attendance and participation in the UC Santa Cruz Transfer Summer Orientation, on Friday, July 28, 2017. With the augmentation of these funds, we increased the number of students we served by 44% from last year for a total of 26 students. The evaluation survey demonstrated that of all MEP services, the ETTP is by far considered the most beneficial amongst respondents.

Collaborators: Bioengineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments

Lead Contact Name: Tracy Larrabee & Lydia Zendejas
Lead Contact Email: larrabee@ucsc.edu & zendejas@ucsc.edu
Theme: Promoting Academic Excellence