Watershed Watch: A Partnership of Diverse Institutions Working to Recruit and Retain Early Underclassmen into STEM Majors Rock, Barrett1; Linda Hayden2; Karen Graham1; and Stephen Hale1 1University of New Hampshire; 2Elizabeth City State University Baseline Data Abstract The Watershed Watch (NSF STEP-#0525433) project is a curriculum model that was designed by the partnership of two 4yr universities, University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) an HBCU in NC; and two Community Colleges, College of the Albemarle (COA; NC) and Great Bay Community College (GBCC; NH). The Watershed Watch partnership is a freshman level science course designed to attract and retain undeclared students into STEM majors. The model curriculum was designed to incorporate field and laboratory based research into a freshman level science course. Elements of the Watershed Watch curriculum include student-driven inquiry and research pedagogy, faculty mentoring of students, research and seminar Academic Year follow-up, and student research presentations. Watershed Watch has directly reached 101 undeclared/undecided early underclassmen and students that may have been STEM majors, but considering a major change. Student tracking has revealed considerable year-to-year changes among the student participants. After 2010, Watershed Watch reported that 49% of students declared or were likely to declare a STEM major. After 2011, tracking the same students, we now report that 36% (36 of 101) were declared or likely to declare a STEM major. As we near the end of the undergraduate cycle for most of the students, the changes hereafter are likely to be small. Therefore, Watershed Watch still had a measurable impact on students, because the baseline data for undeclared students declaring STEM majors was 20% (baseline data only available from UNH). Although Watershed Watch still had gains for recruiting and retaining students, our results show that 15% of our student gains were subsequently lost as students switched out of STEM majors (or left college) and that treatments may need to be maintained beyond one year. The project has moved into its sustainability, institutionalization, and dissemination phases. In these phases, the two universities are working to institutionalize aspects of Watershed Watch either in Discovery coursework for early undergraduates, or as part of larger efforts in community engagement. Table 2. On average, from 2004 – 2006, 20% of Undeclared UNH Freshmen and Sophomores not in the Watershed Watch Program go on to declare a STEM major (Table 1.) Data on the partnering institutions baseline STEM major declaration rates was not available. Findings • After 2010, the full cohort of 101 Watershed Watch students included 49 (50%) of either Confirmed or Probable STEM majors; • After 2011, the full cohort of 101 Watershed Watch students included 36 (35%) of either Confirmed or Probable STEM majors – A decline of 15%; • The 15% reduction represents a post-program “settling” in the numbers as students continue to 1) change majors and 2) leave their institution before graduating; • The 15% “settling” observed represents significant leakage of students that were captured and lost. Most of this loss can be attributed to student education financing and low GPA attainment; • As the full cohort approaches the end of their undergraduate career, the numbers should become increasingly stable, and therefore reflect an increase over the UNH 20% baseline estimate. Table 1a. Watershed Watch Data – after 2010 • Institutionalization • The University of New Hampshire • Listing Watershed Watch as a tuition-supported, credit-bearing biology course; • Listing Watershed Watch as an Inquiry Course selection. All Freshmen must take at least one Inquiry Course to satisfy their requirement under UNH’s Discovery Course Curriculum (replaces former General Education curriculum). • Elizabeth City State University • Enhanced culture of undergraduate research; • Growing number of presenters at ECSU Research Week – with many coming from Watershed Watch program; • Partnership with UNH and similar programs led to Community Engagement recognition by Carnegie Foundation in 2010. Table 1b. Watershed Watch Data – after 2011 Acknowledgements This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-0525433. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors thank our partner institutions College of the Albemarle and Great Bay Community College and to the numerous additional faculty and staff from UNH and ECSU that have grown our partnership and capacity for collaboration within the area of STEM recruitment and retention. Tracking Data summary for Watershed Watch students at the end of the 2010 calendar year and 2011 calendar year. The differences in these tables illustrate the shifting in categories of STEM degree status that occurred with the Watershed Watch students. At the end of 2010, there were 39 of 101 (39%) students were Confirmed or Probable STEM majors (Tab. 1a; here we include majors such as psychology, nursing, and pre-health professional majors as STEM). At the end of 2011, this number had dropped to 36 of 101 (30%) (Tab. 1b).