Academic Excellence Workshops

Syracuse University (NY)

The Academic Excellence Workshops (AEW) at Syracuse University are an optional active-learning program offered to students taking Pre-Calculus, Calculus I, II, III, and several fundamental engineering courses. First-year students and those on academic probation in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science are strongly encouraged to participate in this program.

Academic Excellence Workshops provide a unique approach to calculus instruction by supplementing classroom teaching through a highly interactive, small group session. Trained undergraduate facilitators, who excelled in the course previously, work with six to eight students two hours per week. The undergraduate facilitators provide mentoring to their participants and provide them with additional opportunities to reinforce course material through weekly office hours. The overall goal of AEW is to encourage subject mastery and not merely content memorization. 

Program funding comes from institutional and private/individual sources. 

Bottom Line: Of the fall 2009 LC Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science first-year female students who successfully completed Calculus I and were concurrently enrolled in AEW during the fall semester, 70.6% passed Calculus II in the spring with a grade at least equivalent to or higher than that received in Calculus I. For the remaining female cohort that did not participate in the program, only 29.4% achieved similar results. The findings for the male cohort: 62.8% of AEW program participants achieved at least the same level of success between their initial calculus courses, compared to only 37.2% of the non-program participants.