By Drew Kohlhorst, Ph.D.
At our November 6th Brown Bag Seminar, I presented on the development and assessment of the NSF-funded Getting A Leg Up @ Emory (GLUE) program. GLUE is a summer bridge program, designed to allow invited students from Emory University and Oxford College the opportunity to experience problem-based learning, interact with on-campus resources, and build a strong learning community in both residential and online learning environments. The GLUE curriculum uses case studies to engage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students in a variety of subjects including biology, chemistry, physics, public health, and ethics. The case studies focus on quantitative skills development, data literacy and visualization, scientific communication, and the effects of STEM on globalization.
In order to assess GLUE, several instruments have been developed using surveys, interviews, and student performance data. To date, over 190 participants have completed the GLUE program (Residential and Online). Of these participants, most have been African American females from both Emory and Oxford College. Over 90% of participants have indicated that GLUE prepared them for college, helped them consider their career plans, and gave them a sense of community. Participants have also reported that GLUE provides an interesting and engaging curriculum, and an opportunity to self-reflect. GLUE participants report having more positive views on science, scientific research, and the role of scientists in society. These views are further bolstered by increased confidence related to scientific inquiry and process skills.
I am currently working to evaluate the academic performance of GLUE participants relative to several other student groups on both the Emory and Oxford campuses. While current data indicate little change in student cumulative and science GPA values, Drew is confident that the resources and skills provided by the GLUE program are helping students in ways that are not captured academic performance data alone. GLUE is currently collaborating with several other on-campus entities, including EPASS and the Career Center, to determine the extent to which GLUE participation in conjunction with the use of other on-campus resources participant engagement with these, and other, on-campus resources might play in their academic success and retention in STEM disciplines.