The College of Sciences and Engineering at Southern University is taking steps to promote the success of students seeking degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics by helping ensure they succeed in foundational mathematics courses. 

With help from a $749,829 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the college is implementing the Pathways for Advancing Student Success project to assist with mathematics preparation and faculty development. 

“Across the nation, an overwhelming number of students entering college as a STEM major failed math or switched their major due to a lack of preparation for college-level mathematics,” said Patrick Carriere, project director and dean of the college of sciences and engineering. “Southern University, like universities across the country, has similar challenges with its STEM students.”

Through the initiative, the college will implement a comprehensive improvement plan to increase the first-time passing rate in foundational mathematics courses, and improve course delivery and instruction to increase the retention rate among STEM students, according to a news release.

In addition, the college will implement an early warning system to identify and support at-risk students; strengthen tutoring services for math courses; provide training that enables faculty members to explore active and collaborative teaching and learning strategies; and provide a six-week faculty course redesign and curriculum training.

“Overall, this project will strengthen the college’s academic support services and faculty instruction and advisement,” said Carriere. “This will lay the foundation for long-term improved student retention efforts.”

Carriere is leading the effort along with Francesca Mellieon-Williams, co-director of the project and associate professor of science and mathematics education. Albertha Lawson, chairwoman of the science and mathematics education program, and Fareed Dawan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will serve as co-investigators for the project.