The University of Colorado Boulder’s Engineering GoldShirt Program continued in its goal of becoming a model for other universities, recently hosting three representatives from Texas A&M who are interested in developing a similar academic redshirting program in their engineering college.
The GoldShirt Program, which graduated members of its first cohort in December 2013, supports motivated and talented students who need additional math, science, or humanities preparation before diving into the full undergraduate engineering curriculum. For the five-year curriculum, students are directly admitted into the College of Engineering and Applied Science; attend a summer bridge session between high school and college; and spend their first year focusing on preparing for success in their chosen engineering major.
The GoldShirt Program has already been used as a model for the STARS Program at the University of Washington and Washington State University, which was launched in 2013.
During their visit to CU-Boulder, the representatives from Texas A&M met with GoldShirt Program Director Tanya Ennis and a panel of seven GoldShirt students who now serve as peer mentors for the program. The students shared their biggest challenges in transitioning from high school to college and their experiences in GoldShirt. Most spoke about the importance of the summer bridge session and the sense of community they built with other GoldShirt students.
The meeting left the Texas A&M representatives buzzing with excitement about GoldShirt features they could implement in their college.
“One of the most beneficial parts of the meeting was having that student panel,” said Monica Cortez, director of Texas A&M’s Engineering Academy and Workforce Development programs. “They are such great ambassadors, and are clearly a key in the capture rate for the program.”
Cortez said they will be considering aspects of the program like the summer bridge, extending residential hall requirements into the sophomore year, and building a sense of community with their students.
Ennis said the group invited her to visit Texas A&M later this year and seemed enthusiastic about exploring the program further.
“At CU, we are passionate about helping these students succeed, and it’s good to see that passion exists at other universities,” she said.