• Understanding Retention Pathways and Bottlenecks of STEM Majors: Implications for Student Success

      Elliot, William S.; Deligkaris, Christos; Greenwood, Eric S.; Gentle, Adrian P.; Chan Hilton, Amy B.; Blunt, Shelly B.
      The goals of this project are to increase faculty member's knowledge about evidence-based student retention, instructional best practices, and understanding bottlenecks and other factors impeding student progress in STEM at University of Southern Indiana (USI). In particular, hands-on experiences through group work and engaging students with early undergraduate research contribute significantly to student learning. To accomplish these goals, a working group consisting of faculty members from across the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education initiated discussions in Fall 2017 to examine retention factors and bottlenecks. In order to support these activities, the working group secured an Innovation Grant through the Pott College with the goal of developing individualized projects focusing on increasing retention of STEM majors and improving student learning. To assist with our shared efforts, reference materials are made available through SharePoint, Trello is used to document developing hypotheses and activities of the working group, and in-person meetings are held at least once a month to discuss the readings and to share updates on individualized projects. Initially, a systems map was created by the working group to analyze retention pathways of STEM majors at USI. Systems thinking is an effective way to understand the complexity of a topic, identify links among themes, and discover potential individualized research directions. Each working group member then created their own systems map to better constrain their specific area of interest. Research projects that originated from this process include: (1) comparing student attitudes towards group work implementations in introductory Physics courses; (2) evaluating the effectiveness of Pre-Calculus as a preparation for college-level Calculus; (3) exploring the impact of course repeats on student success in the Pott College; (4) increasing retention rates of STEM majors through an early undergraduate research program; and (5) using a faculty learning community and systems mapping to engage faculty members with pedagogical research. Selected student learning outcomes of these projects include: (1) improved comprehension and problem solving skills through group work and active learning, and (2) enriched student engagement through early undergraduate research. Furthermore, faculty members supported one another through the process of Institutional Research Board (IRB) training, the IRB approval process, and securing student data from the Office of Planning, Research, and Assessment. The results from this project will support longer-term retention initiatives and inform strategies to improve student success and retention of STEM majors in the Pott College at USI. In addition, these projects will better position the Pott College to seek external funding (such as National Science Foundation S-STEM program or Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence program) to support student retention efforts. Finally, classroom strategies that result in improved student learning will be expanded to other sections of introductory courses in mathematics and physics.
    • USI OT/OTA Toy Accessibility Project

      Mason, Jessica; Dishman, Karen; Arvin, Mary Kay
      Topic/Problem Statement: The role of an occupational therapy professional is to ensure that individuals can participate in daily life activities. Play is the work of children. All children grow and develop from play experiences. For some children with disabilities, participation in play can be limited due to physical and/or cognitive deficits. Children with disabilities can utilize switch-operated toys to more easily engage in play. The occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) programs decided to work together to modify toys for children with disabilities in our community as a service learning activity. Context: Occupational therapy students and occupational therapy assistant students make up the USI Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). The SOTA program applied and received the USI Endeavor Grant in the fall of 2018. The grant was written by two OT students, one OTA student, and two OT faculty members. The funds from the grant will allow students to learn how to adapt battery operated items using switches. Students will be able to use this skill in future professional occupational therapy practice. Approach: According to Hamm (2005), play experiences provide children with practice for skills that they require in adult life. Children learn from interactions with peers through play. The OT and OTA students received education and training on modifying a battery-operated plush toy into a switch operated toy. The process for adapting the toys was provided by the robotics program at Ivy Tech. This process included learning how a simple electrical circuit works, evaluating the toy, splicing together wires, and connecting the switch to the toy.  Toys were presented to the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation and Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center during December and January. A total of 50 toys were switch adapted by the OT and OTA students. Reflection/Discussion: After the toy adaptation sessions were completed, OT and OTA students were asked to participate in an IRB approved research study regarding the service learning experience.  Results indicated most students believed this activity helped them make a difference and become more aware of the needs in the community. A majority of the OT and OTA students also reported this activity reinforced problem-solving skills and critical thinking.  The OT and OTA students will present the outcomes of the project at the USI Endeavor Symposium in April 2019. References: Hamm, E. M., Mistrett, S. G., & Ruffino, A.G. (2005). Play outcomes and satisfaction with toys and technology of young children with special needs. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(1), 29-35. Doi:10.1177/016264340602100103 
    • Using a Mix of Strategies to Prepare Nursing Students for Disaster Response

      Connerton, Charlotte; St. Clair, Julie
      Undergraduate nursing faculty are expected to prepare students to participate as members and leaders of interprofessional teams that provide emergency services in their communities.  The BSN Essentials indicate that the baccalaureate nursing program must prepare graduates to “use clinical judgment and decision-making skills in appropriate, timely nursing care during disaster, mass casualty, and other emergency situations” (The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008, p. 25).  Context: Nursing 455:  Population-Focused Nursing Practice is taken Fall semester of the senior year. The course promotes development of disaster preparedness competencies through seminar, online clinical modules and simulation. Students are expected to apply principles of SALT triage, plan and set up a shelter, conduct a shelter guest intake and health needs assessment, and use the medical evacuation sled in a seminar setting on campus. Approach: The disaster preparedness clinical education includes seminar, independent online learning and simulation.  The clinical activities include the following: Completion of the SALT Triage and the FEMA IS-100 course independently online prior to the seminar day. Completion of “Stop the Bleed” which includes skills demonstration of wound packing and tourniquet application. Demonstration of evacuation of a victim down a staircase using a Med Sled. Tour of the Physical Activities Center (a Red Cross designated shelter) and development of a shelter set up plans. Use of case studies with Red Cross shelter forms. Demonstration of triage competency using patient triage training cards. Reflection/Discussion: A mix of educational strategies was used to prepare senior level nursing students for response during a disaster.  Students demonstrated the ability to apply the principles of SALT triage, plan and set up a shelter, conduct a shelter guest intake and health needs assessments, and use the medical evacuation sled. Students were actively engaged, and learning occurred through the simulation. References: American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications/BaccEssentials08.pdf American College of Surgeons (2015-2016). Stop the bleed. Retrieved from http://www.bleedingcontrol.org/ Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2018). IS-100.C: Introduction to the incident command system, ICS 100. Retrieved from https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-100.c MESH Coalition (n.d.). Adult patient triage cards. Retrieved from http://www.meshcoalition.org/products/patient-triagecards National Disaster Life Support Foundation (2015). SALT mass casualty triage on-line training. Retrieved from http://register2.ndlsf.org/mod/page/view.php?id=2056
    • Using World Literature to Build Cultural Awareness and Increase Cognitive Flexibility

      Gupta, Sukanya; Popescu-Sandu, Oana
      Abstract is not included by request of the authors. Please contact the authors for additional information.