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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v11.i2.50
pages 197-208

DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND EVALUATION OF A SCIENCE LEARNING COMMUNITY FOR UNDERREPRESENTED STUDENTS

Sherona Garrett-Ruffin
Bowling Green State University, Chapman Community at Kohl, 021 Kohl Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403
Donna S. Martsolf
Kent State University

ABSTRACT

Recruiting women, minorities, and first-generation students into the sciences, and retaining these students, is a challenge at many universities. Learning communities have been used in many university settings to promote the retention of students from the 1st to the 2nd year. The Science Learning Community (SLC) at Kent State University was developed to help minority and first-generation college students succeed in biology, chemistry, and nursing majors. Inaugurated in 2002, the SLC had 22 members in the first cohort and 22 members in the second. Each cohort lived in one residence hall, shared cocurricular activities — including mandatory study sessions and supplemental instruction, and attended the same sections of English and science classes during the 1st year. At the conclusion of year 1, retention rates for SLC students were compared to three control groups matched for gender, minority status, ACT score, and course registration. Students in the SLC were retained at a higher rate than control group members (82.6% compared with 73.7% for the first cohort; 81.8% compared with 79.3% for the second cohort) and expressed high satisfaction with the SLC experience during exit interviews.


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