An Early Intervention Program for Minority Science Students: Fall Bridge Program

By Gloria Payne and Renata H. Dusenbury.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The development and implementation of an Academic Bridge Program for first year students majoring in science and technology was designed to address the retention of
students who elect to major in these disciplines. Traditionally, it is known that the greatest decline in majors occurs between the freshman and sophomore year. This
program addressed some of the academic barriers that students encounter during their first year. More specifically, this program targeted entry level biology, chemistry and mathematics courses. Faculty who taught the targeted first year courses were responsible for implementing a Saturday program of study that provided additional support to students enrolled in entry level classes. It was important to emphasize the applications of the subject to real life situations. Mid-term grades were used as an early warning sign. Students, who scored less than a "C" on any exam, were required to retake the exam after completing an intensive review. The freshmen's end of year grades were significantly correlated with the semester mid-term grades. This suggested that the early intervention in the targeted courses made a difference in the students' academic performance. On the average, 75 percent of the students who participated in the Fall Bridge Program passed the entry level courses. In contrast, the passing rate for non-participants was 20 percent. In summary, the Fall Bridge Program served as an early intervention tool that increased the number of students going into the sophomore year.

Keywords: Retention, Early Intervention, Fall Bridge, Entry Level Courses, Minority

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp.23-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 494.355KB).

Dr. Gloria Payne

Assistant Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, Saint Augustine's College, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Dr. Payne has an interest in the retention of minority students who pursue degrees in science, math, engineering and technology. She has twenty years of teaching experience and fifteen years of administrative experience. She has served as head of the Biology Department at Saint Augustine's College, Director of the Graduate Program at Georgina Court College in New Jersey and as Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Saint Augustine's College. Her research interest is focused on developmental toxicology. She has mentored over twenty-five graduate and undergraduate student research projects. She is a successful grants writer. She enjoys interacting with students and considers herself an advocate for students.

Dr. Renata H. Dusenbury

Assistant Professor of Biology, Department Head, Department of Biological & Physical Science, Saint Augustine's College, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Dr. Dusenbury has spent the majority of her academic career teaching, mentoring, and advising undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. For the past 6 years, Dr. Dusenbury has been involved in programs such as the National Science Foundation Historically Black Colleges and Universities- Undergraduate Research Programs (HBCU-UP) and the Health Career’s Opportunity Program (HCOP) initiatives, geared to academically prepare and retain minority STEM majors. During her tenure at Saint Augustine’s College, Dr. Dusenbury has served as head of the Biology Department and Director of the Honors Program. Prior to coming to Saint Augustine, Dr. Dusenbury was a forensic scientist at the NC State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Raleigh, NC and a Research Associate at Yale University in New Haven, CT.


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