Supporting student success

Engineering Student Success Center provides space and resources to give engineering students an ‘extra boost’

By Alexis Schlindwein, COMM ’13

Along a back-lit whiteboard spanning the length of the room, a tutor works a statistics problem. At the next table, students are working through thermodynamics homework. In the study room at back, a group of engineers are focused on acing the next electric circuits exam.

Take a stroll through the first floor of Haggerty Hall any evening during the week and it will be clear to see — this is the place for engineers to be.

It’s home to the Engineering Student Success Center, which first opened its doors for the spring 2018 semester. More than just a physical space with plenty of tables, chairs and whiteboards, the center is a place where engineering students can go for drop-in, peer-to-peer tutoring and academic support.

“This space benefits our students in many ways, but most importantly it allows us to provide them with that extra boost of support they need to be successful in their courses,” said Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering.

In just the first semester of programming, the center offered tutoring for 16 engineering courses and saw 200 students. Twenty additional students, who received a B+ or higher and a professor’s recommendation, served as peer tutors for their fellow students.

This semester, the center is still abuzz. In addition to support for 16 engineering courses, the center also hosts informational sessions on general study tips and how to succeed in the courses. Additional renovations this summer to the common space immediately outside the center has brought even more students to the area.

“By providing the peer-to-peer, drop-in tutoring model in the center, students are able to learn from one another. Even the visibility of the Engineering Student Success Center in the heart of our building allows students to see the constant activity inside and understand that it is ok — and encouraged — to seek support when needed,” Ropella said.

The Engineering Student Success Center was made possible through a generous $1 million gift from Jim, Eng ’68, and Kelly, Arts ’68, McShane that included renovation of the space in Haggerty, technology and operating upgrades, advising staff and tutors, and other programming costs.