AN ASSESSMENT OF SKILLS AND EXPERIENCES NEEDED FOR FRESHMEN RETENTION RATES: A SPECIFIC STUDY OF THE PILOT COURSE PHYSIOLOGY 101 TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractWidespread studies indicate that stress is prevalent amongst numerous different majors, particularly in STEM, and is linked to lower retention rates and changes in the overall well-being of students. The Physiology Department has developed a new course, Physiology 101, to help lessen some of the stressors of an incoming freshman while engaging them earlier within the Physiology and Medical Sciences Major to increase overall retention rates. This study reviews feedback across the fall semester from 2 groups to look at changes in behaviors and attitudes of 100 students within the pilot Physiology 101 course and students who are PSIOM majors but not enrolled in the course. Results revealed that the 101 course, using a format divided between lecture and small group activities, helped engage students by enriching their understanding of broader concepts and problem-solving skills in physiology, knowledge of different career path options, importance of interacting with one another, and essential professional skills such as public speaking and networking. An additional key component was the integration of senior Physiology group leaders to provide these freshmen, help in preparing for their futures, career and academic advice, and feedback on improving professional development skills. This pilot provided critical feedback on the potential success of this course and insights for future improvements.