Clear Path Helps Students Settle Into STEM

Screen Grab via PA Department of Education

Shavonne McLamb

Staff Writer

The STEM students at ESU are very fortunate to have a new way of being advised by the heads of their departments.

On Sept. 4, ESU kicked off the fourth season of the ProvostColloquium series. 

The focus of the first lecture was Factors Driving Student Success: Creating a Clear Path. 

A Clear Path is an advising tool for STEM students at ESU and other colleges.

The program was created by Dr. Bonnie Green, Dr. Olivia Carducci, and Dr. Jones-Wilson. 

The program was thought of 15 years ago when Dr. Green was teaching Quantitative Psychology.

The women were awarded a grant of $4,039,527 for up to five years by the National Science Foundation. 

ESU has partnered up with Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College, and Luzerne Community College, all recruiting for students in the STEM major. 

They’ve recruited 120 transferring students majoring in STEM.

What makes this advising different from advising with regular students?

 It focuses on transfer students coming to ESU. 

Students are supported through mentoring programs, social events, which built a community, and cohort activities. 

Graduation rates and retention rates increased. Data supported the idea that students using Clear Path had higher scores in Grit (2.232-4.321), College self-efficacy (1.448-2.102), academic self-efficacy (2.83-3.709), academic self-confidence(1.917-5.065), and professional future sense of self (3.668-3.850).

Student support that advisors can give to students can be mentoring to incoming transfer students that are “trained in the science of success”, said Dr. Green. They are calling advising it “Proactive developmental advocacy advising. 

With this type of advising, students feel like someone has their back and can help with issues outside of the classroom. Dr. Green and Dr.Carducci understand that transfer students need more attention. “Don’t wait for the student, push out the information”, said Dr. Green.

Transfer students should have welcome events early at the beginning of the semester, at a convenient time and location.

The speakers pointed out that it not that expensive, costing less than $1,000 each semester.

Clear Path is working because they have Success Seminars that are similar to FYE (First-Year Experience) for Freshmen.

The goal for this is to increase developmental mechanisms such as coping with stress, help-seeking behaviors, and grit. 

Dr. Green says, “With effort, people can get better.” Of intelligence, 60 percent is the environment, while 40 percent is genetics.

The idea of IVI (ImplicitView of Intelligence was discussed. 

If a student has low IVI, they have less likely to graduate.

If a student has a high HSB (Help-Seeking Behavior) they can have higher grades.

“Seeking help is NOT a form of weakness, it is a form of strength”, said Dr. Green. 

This form of advising through Clear Path is a different technique and seems to be effective. 

ESU should be challenged to enforce Clear Path not just for STEM transfer majors but, for all transfer students. 

Transfer students should feel welcomed and understand the environment of the campus. 

Clear Path can help students graduate faster and the faculty that helped build this tool and advising method should be rewarded.

The university can now add another system, Clear Path, to the many academic services it offers.

The National Science Foundation allowed this grant project to come into fruition.

This will introduce an entirely new outlet for current and future ESU students to come.

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