Session S59a (Wednesday, 9:30am, Wartik 106)

P651: SPEC & Lab Buddies: Creating a community of learners in chemistry

Laura Muller, Janina Benoit (Wheaton College, USA)

Beginning in Fall 2009, the Chemistry Department at Wheaton College began our Skills Practice and Enhancement in Chemistry (SPEC) and Lab Buddies programs.  Together they aim to help first-year chemistry students improve skills and study habits and encourage them to develop strong collegial ties early in their science careers.  The overall goal of these student-led mentoring programs is to enhance recruitment, retention and success of under-represented students in Chemistry.  Our specific objectives are to improve student skills and performance at the introductory level and foster a sense of belonging within the department and discipline.  We have used two approaches to assess the SPEC program: 1) student perception surveys, and 2) collected data on student grades and retention.  In this presentation, we will discuss our results, highlighting areas of success, as well as areas we have identified for improvement.

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