Innovation Through Engineering and Computing Science, or iTEC, is a National Science Foundation-funded program to design and implement retention initiatives for beginning engineering and computer science students.
The program is intended to help students through their first academic year, with the goal of improving graduation rates and promoting successful careers for young engineers and computer scientists.
Why It’s Important
Studying engineering and computer science is demanding. The academic support and sense of community fostered by iTEC help give first-year students confidence. Right from the start, iTEC enables them to collaborate with other first-year engineers and computer scientists, upper-class peer mentors and faculty.
How It Works
Our program consists of four proven and effective initiatives:
- A Living and Learning Community where students:
- Live in a supportive dormitory environment with other engineers and computer scientists.
- Attend workshops and seminars designed specially for them.
- Have access to nightly in-dorm tutoring.
- Participate in professional skill-building sessions and social activities.
- An introductory course in engineering or computer science that features:
- An interdisciplinary team project, such as building a wind-turbine prototype.
- Training in soft skills, such as communication, leadership and team work.
- Both classroom and lab activities.
- A peer and faculty mentoring program that:
- Assigns an upperclass peer mentor to answer questions about curriculum and careers.
- Holds workshops in time management, interviewing skills and working in teams.
- Offers engineering and computer science drop-in tutoring sessions four evenings a week.
- Features guest speakers from industry and field trips to local technology companies.
- A two-week residential summer Bridge Program that:
- Includes a math review and skills booster to help with first-year math placement.
- Introduces students to their major through field trips, invited speakers, hands-on activities and student competitions.
- Forms a sense of community through recreational and social events.
The Bridge Program is required for selected students.