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DSU-Promoting Engagement and Access in Science


The ever-increasing, non-traditional student body, as well as first generation college students, requires that colleges design programs that respond to the needs of these students. This is because these students face added challenges for degree completion and have multiple risk factors.Thus, increasing DSU’s capacity for inclusion will require improving our institution’s effectiveness at retaining and graduating STEM students from all backgrounds. This project, titled “Delaware State University-Promoting Engagement and Access in Science (DSU-PEAS)” is supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence (IE) initiative. The project is focused on building institutional capacity to:      

  • Recruit STEM students from all backgrounds
  • Involve incoming and transferring STEM students in bridge programs, and provide effective academic support that will ensure their success
  • Build career awareness and preparation in STEM students
  • Engage faculty in student-centered teaching and mentoring.

While primarily targeted to non-traditional students and first generation college students, this program promotes and supports teaching that is more student-centered. The goals of DSU-PEAS are that: 

  • STEM students have access to major courses taught in on-line or low-residency formats, 
  • Courses based around lectures will be relatively rare, 
  • Students will have access to anytime, anywhere tutoring, and career and academic advising responsive to their individual needs. 

We expect these changes to our STEM academic programs to significantly increase retention and on-time graduation of the full diversity of STEM students. Success in achieving our goals for increasing retention and graduation would make our program a national model of student support structures that make it easier for non-traditional and under-represented students to choose STEM majors and be successful in those majors.

Who is a non-traditional student?

  • Did not enroll high school
  • Attends college part-time
  • Works full time
  • Is financially independent
  • Is a single parent
  • Has a GED
  • Is a veteran, and/or 
  • Transferred from a 2-year college 
  • Has dependents other than a spouse



Virtual Bridge Program 

  • Offered online in summer, fall and spring semesters 
  • For STEM degrees, as well as matriculating students

Free Online Tutoring (Tutor.com) offered through Blackboard

  • Over 30 STEM courses are covered
  • Tutoring is 24/7 via DSU Blackboard 
  • Live subject expert tutors available within minutes of request
  • Can connect from any device
  • All sessions are archived and instantly available for review
  • Can choose between on-demand and scheduled live tutoring

Student-centered learning

  • Flipped-classroom teaching module 
  • Students gain first exposure to lecture prior to class
  • Instructor assesses student understanding
  • In-class activities focus on higher level cognitive learning
  • Faculty professional development and online course development 
  • Summer Teaching Institutes for faculty to flip their course or adopt other student-centered teaching approaches
  • Courses are made available on Blackboard

Degree completion and career preparation

  • Increased support for degree completion and career preparation
  • Alternative course fulfillment through
  • Advanced Placement (AP), 
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), 
  • Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES)
  • Assist students looking for STEM internships and jobs in collaboration with Office of Career Planning and Placement