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Engineering Impact Report

Supporting Student Success

 Rachel Robinson and Judy Butts both advise mechanical engineering students with the help of peer advisers like Carmen Reed, an electrical and computer engineering major.

Universities have differing models when it comes to student advising. Some rely exclusively on faculty, while others use professional career advisers. In one of the big changes the School of Engineering made in the past five years, the School adopted a hybrid model called the Office of Student Success (OSS).

The idea was to provide more personalized, one-stop service for the 30 percent of incoming students who choose the Discover Engineering program because they are unsure of their path in engineering, eventually improving the School’s already impressive retention rate of nearly 90 percent from first to second year.

The School made a significant investment to create OSS, hiring three full-time, professional advisers and five part-time, all of whom are engineering professionals. These advisers work with students through the second semester of their sophomore year when they transfer to the faculty in their home department for advising in their major.

The idea is to give students three semesters to take classes and explore options. “OSS staff know about all of our majors here and across campus. They really help students find their career passion,” said Scott Segalewitz, associate dean for experiential learning and student success.

"First-year advising is different from the remaining three to four years of advising" said Michelle Strunks, assistant dean. "It is much more involved and encompasses everything from life skills coaching to academic skills building to career planning."

Advisers work closely with all engineering departments and liaise with other student- serving offices across campus including athletics, cooperative education, study abroad, the Diversity in Engineering Center, University honors, disability services and other academic units, to name just a few.

The OSS staff also facilitate the first-year seminar courses (EGR-101/102) and engineering workshops (EGR-150/151), as well as advise students on other pathways such as the UD-Sinclair (Community College) Academy and the premed and prelaw programs.

As they have established themselves as crucial points of contact for students, OSS staff have made a concerted effort to increase faculty participation in the Student Success Network (SSN). SSN is UD's early alert system that helps identify students in academic or personal distress. By increasing awareness of how and why they should report, faculty have become more engaged in SSN.

The same holds true for enforcement of the academic honor code.

The School of Engineering is leading the way among academic units in pushing back against a growing culture of academic dishonesty driven by the proliferation of online cheating resources. By realizing that the SoE dean’s office will follow through with enforcement of honor code violations, faculty are more willing to bring these issues to the forefront.

“There is a general consensus that the Office of Student Success has not only helped us be on the same page in serving students, but has increased the level of student satisfaction,” Segalewitz said. “And that helps us fulfill our mission.”


School of Engineering

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0254