Session S55c (Wednesday, 5:15pm, Willaman Gateway)

P865: Strategies to enhance student retention in chemistry

Joan Esson (Otterbein College, USA)

While what students do in the classroom is critical to their development as chemists, sometimes keeping students in the major relies on co-curricular strategies.  A new program has been developed with funding from the National Science Foundation that is focused on building a strong, supportive community of learners and developing student career options.  Living-learning units were created among chemistry and physics majors at a Midwestern primarily undergraduate institution, and students were placed into peer mentoring teams.  Students in the program had shared courses and participated in a variety of social activities that also included faculty.  Additional programming included talks from alumnae about their careers and field trips to regional industries and graduate programs.  Through these efforts, the retention of students in the major has significantly increased.

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