Masters Thesis

An evaluative study of academic excellence in workshops in the community college setting

Social work champions social justice a belief that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity. Post secondary education should be open to all students. Individuals have a right to higher education and should not be discriminated against based upon their race, ethnicity, class, or gender. Accessibility for underrepresented minority (URM) students is a goal of the Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW) intervention program for Math Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) majors at Santa Rosa Junior College. This project is a macro evaluative study of the program. Literature looking at the historical content of the MESA Program, Philip Michael Triesman's founding study, and the differences between four year and community college attenders as they relate to access, retention, persistence, and degree attainment were reviewed. The empirical research was derived from archival data gathered from MESA enrollment forms and academic transcripts. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used on the gathered data. The researchers hypothesized that participation in the AEW would positively impact URM student's grade point average in math, engineering, and science courses. Using an independent t-test, the researchers found no significant evidence to support the hypothesis. The research study was limited and did not take into consideration the secondary benefits of participating in the AEW that could influence student's academic success, retention, and persistence in STEM courses. The researchers conclude that future evaluations of AEW programs would benefit from a holistic approach incorporating both quantitative and qualitative research methods.