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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
WISER WOMEN: FOSTERING UNDERGRADUATE SUCCESS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING WITH A RESIDENTIAL ACADEMIC PROGRAM
Department of Plant Pathology and Women's Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706
The Women in Science and Engineering Residential Program (WISE-RP) houses about 90 students in a women's residence hall at the University of Wisconsin Madison. This program's goal is to reduce the disproportionate loss of women from science and engineering majors. Participants can enroll in WISE sections of introductory science courses, in which residence hall neighbors take laboratory and discussion classes together. WISE students attend professional career development and research presentations, as well as organized social events. Assessment indicated that the program successfully fused participants' academic and residential lives. The WISE-RP facilitated formal and informal peer study groups, which offered both academic and emotional support. The average 1st-semester GPA of WISE-RP participants was substantially higher than that of other female freshmen. Students in WISE chemistry sections earned better grades than either WISE residents who were not enrolled in the WISE section or the average student in the classes. Furthermore, WISE-RP students were much less likely to abuse alcohol or to drink at all than a comparable group in another residence hall.
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