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Keywords

retention, stem, critical moments, case stories

Abstract

Dartmouth’s Critical Moments project is designed to promote discussions among faculty and graduate students about the retention of students, particularly women and minorities, in science, math, and engineering (SME) disciplines. The first phase of the ongoing project has been the development of four case stories, which are fictionalized composites drawn from surveys and interviews of real Dartmouth students. The surveyed population was 125 students in general chemistry. Of the 77 who agreed to be interviewed, 61 reported having experienced a critical moment – i.e., a positive or negative event or time that had a significant impact on the student’s academic life. Leading critical moments were a poor grade on an exam; challenge from group work; excitement from an internship; and falling in love with a non-SME discipline from other coursework. Interviews of 13 students who had negative critical moments led to the development of case stories for: Antoinetta ’09, who had a disappointing group experience; Dalila ’08, who was poorly prepared; Greg ’09, who got in over his head in his first year; and Michelle ’08, who was shocked by her result in the first exam. The case stories are being discussed by graduate students, TA and faculty in various workshops at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1936-4660.1.1.5

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