CONFERENCE SCHEDULE, MAY 25, 2018

Reports from Breakout Sessions

10:15 – 11:45

Internships, projects and Entrepreneurships

Moderator :

  •  Dr. Fred Moshary, Professor of Electrical Engineering at CCNY

Participants :

  • Dr. Frediun Delale, Professor and Chairman of Mechanical Engineering at CCNY
  • Antonia Coleman , MTA NYC Transit
  • Betsabe Castro, University of Texas – El Paso

The session began with prompt questions that Dr. Moshary presented, such as; What is experiential  learning? How to institutionalize experiential learning? How do we make these experiences broadly available to STEM students? 

Comments about experiential learning began with the importance of learning soft skills even in a field that values hard skills and long-term employment. Castro spoke about bringing in parents to discuss experiential learning, because they usually do not understand the importance of such an experience.
Moshary added that it is important to broaden the definition of experiential learning beyond internships.
Dr. Maria Stein from Northeastern University spoke about ensuring that the industry and professors are integrated throughout the experiential learning process, so that students are not having any conflicts and  get the experience they need.

Why are experiential learning opportunities important and how does it impact student performance, graduation and post-graduate success?

Delale began answering the question by stating engineering students have a very heavy curriculum, and adding an internship to this becomes strenuous for the students, especially if they want to graduate within a 4-5 year period. Castro added that many students have work-study positions, and in these positions
supervisors can give students duties related to their major in order for them to gain experience. Hence, making their work study a experiential learning opportunity. Academic institutions have to be innovative in alleviating engineering students, because companies are looking at students’ GPA’s.

Remediation

Panelists :

  • Dr. Mahmoud Ardebili, Professor of Engineering at Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Prof. Lilliam Matos, Caribbean University
  • Dr. Yasser Hassebo, Professor of Mathematics at LaGuardia Community College

Currently, students are required to take prep courses and/or placement tests in order to begin taking their major courses in engineering and computer science. Most of the courses are 0 credits, and students usually get a second chance at taking the course or the placement tests if they failed the first time.

In order to make sure that students pass these tests and courses, the session attendees recommended that administrators and faculty members include professional development and vary classroom dynamics. Classroom should have a student-centered approach, active learning, and contextualize math problems.  Professors should also keep in mind the issues that students face outside the classroom.

Teaching Technology

Panelists :

  • Dr. Hermes Calderon, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Caribbean University
  • Dr. Kenneth Roth – CityTech

Issues that have surrounded teaching technology include access, affordability, and lack of exposure of a variety of technologies used in the university classroom.
The session proposed the following solutions: build community to share technology materials across schools and universities, provide training to faculty that are not knowledgeable in specific technologies,  create innovative environments to improve performance through technology use (online and physical),
and promote open-ended projects.

Non-academic Support

Panelists :

  • Dr. Millicent Roth, Professor of Psychology and Director and Deputy to the Dean of Science for Undergraduate Programs at CCNY
  • Dr. Di Xu, Professor of Education at University of California, Irvine
  • Dr. Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers, Assistant Vice President and Associate Provost at Medgar Evers College

Many students leave or do not sign up for STEM majors due to rigorous courses and family dynamics (family wants student to graduate and make money as quickly as possible). This leaves institutions with a pressure to continue to recruit and retain students.
In order to make this possible, institutions can create cohort-based learning communities, “intrusive” advising model where professors advise students on personal and professional level, and creating academic and non-academic spaces where students feel a sense of community. Faculty must also be aware
of the non-academic problems that individual and groups of students of color face.

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