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Impact of a student affairs-academic partnership on engineering student academic outcomes

Event Date: February 1, 2018
Authors: Edward J. Berger, Julie Caruccio, and Lisa Lampe
Journal: Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice
Paper URL: https://www.naspa.org/publications/journals/journal-of-student-affairs-research-and-practice
This three-year study examined academic outcomes of students in an engineering school supported by two student support models: (i) a decentralized model typical of the institution, and (ii) a partnership model in which a student affairs professional was embedded within the engineering school.

 Descriptive statistics and a logistic regression model demonstrated differences in outcomes for students experiencing each model. Results indicate a statistically significant improvement in academic outcomes for students who experienced the partnership model.

Introduction: students in need of support and academic outcomes

College students experience difficult circumstances at alarmingly high rates, as described in the literature on campus counseling centers (Locke, Bieschke, Castonguay, & Hayes, 2012), controlled substances (Anon., 2012), and student debt (Fry, 2014), among others. For engineering students in particular, the conditions for distress are primed by the intensity of the undergraduate curriculum, the vitality of the campus social environment, and the relentless ambition but somewhat rigid mindset of today’s millennial students (Lowery, 2004). Academic, social, peer, familial, financial, and other forms of stress conspire to seriously challenge some students. These factors sometimes coalesce into a circumstance that millennial students have not experienced previously, that challenges them in ways to which they are unaccustomed, and that can have a crippling effect on the academic outcomes of these previously-high-achieving students.