Summer-Bridge Program History and Rationale

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The Successful Transition and Enhanced Preparation for Undergraduates Program (STEPUP) was founded in 1993 by Dr. Johnathan F.K. Earle, former Associate Dean for the College of Engineering.  Dr. Earle, a visionary before his time. created the college’s first summer-bridge transition program targeting freshman engineering students, with a particular focus on underrepresented student populations (i.e. Women, African-Americans, Hispanic/Latinx and Native-American students). Within the first ten years of the program, the graduation rates of engineering students in STEPUP had already begun to outstrip those of engineering students electing not to participate in the program.

Nearly twenty-three years later, the STEPUP program continues to promote first-year student persistence and academic success in the engineering major.  Since its inception, the STEPUP program has grown to include a non-residential program called the Entering Freshman Transition Program (EFTP) as a method of expanding the positive impact of the program structure.