Dr. Phil's Home

WMU STEP Program Director's Page

Fall 2005

Welcome to Western!

Welcome to the Student Learning Community of Western Michigan University's STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP).

The College of Arts and Sciences WMU STEP Home Page

What is WMU-STEP?

It's Western Michigan University's STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP).

WMU is one of only a few universities in the country that has been awarded a National Science Foundation STEP grant to improve the success rate of first-year STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students and ultimately increase the number of students that graduate in these fields.

What is a Student Learning Community and Why are you guys here?

Traditionally, the first year of college poses the greatest challenge to students majoring in STEM disciplines. By placing you and other students with similar career goals in predetermined clusters of required courses (for example, one group might start with: MATH 1180, CHEM 1100/1110, HIST 1000, and ENGL 1050 or IME 1020), it is the intention of the WMU-STEP project that you will meet, study, and network with fellow students in the same classes. This is called a learning community. Studies show students who actively participate in learning community activities have a higher success rate in making the transition from high school to college, completing the first year of study and graduating with STEM degrees.

What does the Student Learning Community do?

Activities of the WMU-STEP Student Learning Community include tutoring and study group, mentoring by STEM faculty, and career counseling. It is the hope of the WMU-STEP project that you will form study groups with students in your classes and take advantage of the tutoring provided. In addition, a STEM faculty mentor will contact you whom you can call upon for career advice.

Isn't this the same as the WMU First-Year Experience Program?

No -- and yes. Both voluntary programs have similar goals: to ease the transition into the university and improve the chances for success. But WMU-STEP is designed by scientists and engineers for scientists and engineers -- the STEM majors. We're independent from the FYE Program and separately funded by the National Science Foundation. Also, we're in our second year.

We are in the process of recruiting incoming freshmen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors to participate in the 2005-06 WMU-STEP Program.

Dr. Phil (Program Director), Assistant Dean of Engineering Edmund Tsang and other representatives of WMU-STEP will be at the New Student Orientation sessions in June 2005, to help explain what STEP is and why you might want to participate. You'll be able to register for the Student Learning Community course and sections at Orientation -- or you can be added in later. The program is voluntary and flexible. All we're asking for is a commitment of time for you to better your own education.

All incoming STEM majors at WMU are assessed as to their incoming math level. We have three Student Learning Communities planned for this year, with 24 students in each community. These three communities are based on starting in MATH-1110, MATH-1180 or MATH-1700 (a version of MATH-1220 with problems for scientists and engineers).

 For more information, contact Dr. Phil Kaldon (269-387-4942 or e-mail: philip.kaldon@wmich.edu)

The 2005-2006 WMU-STEP Program


Philip Edward Kaldon, Ph.D.
WMU-STEP Program Director
2203 Everett Tower

Last Update: 11 October 2005 Tuesday