1. Agda Cordero
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/agda-cordero-0048b413/
  3. Professor
  4. Increasing Student Success in STEM
  5. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
  1. Francisco Arencibia Albite
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Increasing Student Success in STEM
  4. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
  1. Iliana Ballester-Panelli
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilianaballesterpanelli/
  3. Professor
  4. Increasing Student Success in STEM
  5. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
  1. Peter Barbosa
  2. Professor
  3. Increasing Student Success in STEM
  4. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
  1. Maria Rodriguez de Padial
  2. Adjunct faculty
  3. Increasing Student Success in STEM
  4. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 07:23 a.m.

    Hi! My name is Agda Cordero and I am Principal Investigator of the NSF funded Increasing Student Success in STEM at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. Our project started in October of 2019 and it set to finish in September of 2024. Our main focus is to retain students majoring in STEM fields, by providing them with support in math courses via peer tutoring, general support as STEM majors via peer mentoring and research opportunities. We specifically aim to support first and second year students because data from Sagrado's Institutional Research unit showed students drop rates to be higher among first and second year.

    We are looking forward to virtually chatting with all of you and we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Thank you in advance for taking the time to see our video. This is Increasing Student Success in STEM at Sagrado!

  • Icon for: Iliana Ballester-Panelli

    Iliana Ballester-Panelli

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 10:02 a.m.

    Hi! My name is Iliana Ballester-Panelli and I am Co Principal Investigator of the NSF funded Increasing Student Success in STEM at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. Looking forward to virtually chat with all of you. Send us your questions, comments and feedback. This is Increasing Student Success in STEM at Sagrado!

  • Icon for: Peter Barbosa

    Peter Barbosa

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 10:56 a.m.

    Greetings ALL. We are excited to answer any questions about our project. My name is Peter Barbosa and I am one of the mentor investigators.

  • Icon for: Maria Rodriguez de Padial

    Maria Rodriguez de Padial

    Co-Presenter
    Adjunct faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 01:50 p.m.

    Hi, I'm María Rodríguez, responsible for research and evaluation in our project, and will be pleased to answer any questions to that respect. 

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 10, 2022 | 04:21 p.m.

    This project is so multifaceted and interesting. Wondering if it has built a sense of community between faculty and students, and between upper and entering students? How are you measuring results? Maria, do you see increased enrollment and/or retention? Is it too soon to see if more students are finishing their degree? Are you comparing these students to a control group or to students before the program began? Last, are you seeing a transformation in the faculty as well as the students involved?

    Great project, thanks for sharing!

     

     
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    Agda Cordero
  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 10:43 p.m.

    Thank you for your feedback, Joni! These are very interesting questions, and things that our project staff has discussed in our weekly meetings.

    One big challenge for the sense of community we expected to develop among students is the fact that we are still in a pandemic, and many students are choosing video conference education instead of face-to-face classes. But there has been a very interesting relationship among research mentors and their research students; these students see faculty as true mentors, not only regarding research, but also possible career paths, graduate studies, etc. 

    We are just starting to divulge our preliminary results, so we expect to see an increase in enrollment next year.

    Right now we have 100% retention among participants of the research or internship experiences, which is very encouraging. It is still too early for this cohort to finish their degrees but we intend to make observations regarding this starting on 2023. We will look not only at graduating rates but also if they get jobs or start graduate studies in STEM fields.

    On the other hand, we have observed a new interest among faculty in doing research. Sagrado has always been a teaching institution, but with the ISSS grant as well as other grants that have been funded recently by the Department of Education, we are seeing more faculty wanting to engage in research with their students.

    I will let Maria address the question on measuring results since she is our lead researcher.

    Thank you for these great questions!

    Agda

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 10, 2022 | 10:52 p.m.

    Thanks for this thoughtful reply. I can well imagine how hard it is to sustain relationships with students going virtual. None-the-less you seem to have made great headway. Do you there will be enough buy-in to sustain the different elements of your program once the grant ends? Always a gnarly question. Thanks for this presentation. 

  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 02:42 p.m.

    Oh it has been very difficult. But we are slowly going back to "normal", or a new normal, where students are coming back to face-to-face learning, so we feel the engagement in research, tutoring and just relationships among peers will very soon be at the levels we wish to see.

    One of our most important goals is to document the results of our research to convey a clear message to our institutional leadership, that investing in these strategies will benefit not only the students, but the academic programs, through stronger ongoing research projects, and the university as well with higher retention and graduation rates. Sagrado already has solid tutoring services, so that component will continue after ISSS ends, but incorporating best practices as evidenced by the results of our work.

    On the other hand, this project as well as other projects currently being implemented at Sagrado, have fostered a desire among faculty to do research, and some are preparing to write grants to continue this work. 

    Again, thanks for such thoughtful questions. Let's keep this conversation going!

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher/Center Director
    May 10, 2022 | 05:04 p.m.

    Your project offers an impressive range of services to support students fully across the years -- addressing  different and evolving needs as students progress through their university experience.  I'm very interested in learning more about the outcomes you are measuring. It sounds like you have encouraging data about the benefits of participation in terms of interest in a STEM career and achievement in a math course--that's great!  What other programatic or student results are you seeing...even preliminary ones would be interesting to hear about.  Thank you for sharing your project!

     
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    Agda Cordero
    Iliana Ballester-Panelli
  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 11:46 p.m.

    Hi, Karen, thank you very much for taking the time to see our video and for your words. Even though the project started in October 2019, the pandemic has affected our capacity to put in place some of the project's proposed activities, mainly the math peer tutoring and peer mentoring programs. Nevertheless, we are starting to get encouraging results.

    A very small number of students have attended tutoring sessions, but we have seen grade improvements among these students, some going from a D grade before tutoring to a B grade after tutoring, others going from a C to an A.

    We have also observed 100% retention among students participating on research or internship experiences sponsored by ISSS. Our project has sponsored close to 40 students working in five different research projects and one internship experience. At the beginning of the project it was hard to recruit students for research, but word-of-mouth has helped us sponsor more students. After these participants finish their two-semester experience, a substantial number wish to continue doing research, and say that their interest in STEM has remained the same or has increased.

    Regarding the math course redesign, we are still working on our courses, they will be implemented starting in Fall 2022, so we will see the results of our work by early 2023.

    Thank you for your interest in our project!

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher/Center Director
    May 15, 2022 | 09:55 a.m.

    Thank you, Agda, for sharing results. The tutoring sessions show promise, that is encouraging!  Excellent retention rates, especially during COVID, are hard to achieve--the fact that 100% continued with the project suggests it has provided support they needed during this time, as well meaningful internships.  If you are collecting qualitative data, it might be useful to have some case stories (or vignettes or whatever makes sense) that will communicate the value of the internship and the scaffolding it provides for those who continue on with research work.  Best wishes for this important work.

  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 15, 2022 | 11:10 a.m.

    Thank you. In fact, we are collecting qualitative data as well. Just yesterday we held a focus group with research participants and we were able to collect very insightful information. Through another grant we now have someone hired for storytelling related to Sagrado's grants projects and we are finally been able to collect and communicate those stories. It's all very exciting!

  • Small default profile

    Yamil Rivera

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2022 | 09:23 a.m.

    Very proud of you all, my dear colleagues at Sagrado! Congrats!!!!

     
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    Agda Cordero
  • Icon for: Iliana Ballester-Panelli

    Iliana Ballester-Panelli

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 09:51 a.m.

    Thanks Yamil!

  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 02:05 p.m.

    Thank you very much, Yamil! 

  • Icon for: Francisco Arencibia Albite

    Francisco Arencibia Albite

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 02:59 p.m.

    Hello to all. I am Francisco Arencibia-Albite staff member of ISSS. I am happy to answer any quires regarding our project

  • Icon for: Chris Atchison

    Chris Atchison

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 08:00 p.m.

    Outstanding work everyone!  The key word here is opportunity. The peer mentors are receiving such valuable experience by engaging with and supporting their peers. However, the development of their social capital by getting them actively involved in communicating their work through conferences is invaluable.  To extend from Joni's question, what did you do with the faculty to prepare them to support this initiative?  Facilitating peer tutoring and mentoring is much different than teaching. Advocacy takes time to develop. What were some of the plans you had prepared but were unable to implement them due to the pandemic?  What about some of the things you would like to build upon at this point?  

     
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    Peter Barbosa
  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2022 | 01:21 a.m.

    Hi Chris! Thank you for your words and interesting questions! We really have not worked with faculty regarding peer mentoring; we have held meetings with math faculty regarding the math tutoring program. And, as you correctly state, advocacy takes time to develop, so it's been a little bit of an uphill battle to have math faculty encourage their students to attend tutoring. Mentoring and tutoring will be the subjects of intense work by our staff during the summer.

    The one significant aspect that we could not implement due to the pandemic was face-to-face tutoring and mentoring activities. On the other hand, we just recently were assigned a physical space at the university for these face-to-face activities. We understand that a physical space where students can meet, socialize and engage is crucial for this project component to be successful. 

    Recruiting mentors has been another challenge. This semester we had only two mentors. We plan on inviting the research students who are ending their one year research experience to continue being part of ISSS by becoming peer mentors and/or math tutors.

    Looking forward to continuing this conversation!

     
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    Chris Atchison
  • Icon for: Chris Atchison

    Chris Atchison

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 15, 2022 | 08:46 p.m.

    Agda, if it is something beyond the scope of your original proposed plans, consider sweetening the pot to get more people involved by writing a supplemental funding request on your current award. These funds could have an even broader impact on your project by getting more people involved, more professional development for both peer and faculty mentors, and broaden participation for students of underrepresented identities - keeping them involved and expanding their social capital!  

    Keep up the great work!

  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 16, 2022 | 07:32 a.m.

    Thank you, Chris! Great suggestion!

  • Icon for: Catherine Horn

    Catherine Horn

    Facilitator
    Moores Professor and Chair
    May 11, 2022 | 10:33 p.m.

    Agda - Really appreciate your work! I am excited by your new model for peer mentoring. I wonder what you are learning about the specific components of peer mentoring that makes most difference? Is it number of experiences with a mentor? Academic capacity? Other? I'd love to hear more about the ways you are assessing success of the various components of your comprehensive effort.

     

    Thanks, so much, for your work!

  • Icon for: Agda Cordero

    Agda Cordero

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2022 | 01:07 a.m.

    Hi Catherine! Thank you for your insightful questions. The peer mentoring component is the one that we have not been able to fully establish. We have only been able to recruit two mentors. One of them assumed the role of mentor speaker; we chose him because he is a successful STEM student, meaning he got excellent grades, did a great job as student researcher and just presented a poster at a national biology conference. Over the summer we will continue developing the mentoring component, and we expect to see results by the end of next semester.

    Regarding how we assess success of the project's components, I believe María Rodríguez addressed that issue. A big part of our work regarding measuring success has been developing instruments for that purpose, as well as getting grades and retention data from our Institutional Research unit at Sagrado.

    I have to admit your questions have sparked ideas that I plan to discuss with our staff during the summer! Keep them coming! Thank you so much!

  • Icon for: Maria Rodriguez de Padial

    Maria Rodriguez de Padial

    Co-Presenter
    Adjunct faculty
    May 12, 2022 | 03:52 p.m.

    Thank you for asking for our evaluation methods. As the project runs three major activities each one is evaluated as follows:

    Tutoring and Mentoring Activity

    1.Satisfaction and attitude towards math using questionnaires.

    2.Progress reports handed in by the tutors, mentors and the activity coordinator.

    3.Student performance and retention through their grades in math courses.

    Undergraduate Research Activity

    1. Satisfaction, and attitude towards science careers using questionnaires and focal groups.
    2. Progress reports handed in by research directors and the activity coordinator.
    3. Student performance and retention through their grades in science courses.

    Faculty Development Activity

    1. Teachers’ satisfaction and performance in the math active learning workshops.
    2. Application of teaching methods and activities in math courses revisions.

     

     
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    Michelle Perry
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