Using service learning for improving student attraction and engagement in STEM studies
Document typeConference lecture
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Rights accessOpen Access
Both in Europe and around the world, there is a lack of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates. The Universities that offer STEM studies face two common problems, the first of which is the lack of technological vocation. Despite the need in Europe for more engineers, and while STEM graduates enjoy almost full employment, few students decide to enrol for these degree courses. The second problem is that engineering studies traditionally have one of the highest dropout rates in Higher Education. One of the reasons for this is that students perceive engineering courses as highly technical and difficult, and with little relation to social progress. They are not aware of the creative nature of such studies, or the contribution to human development made by engineers. In order to tackle these problems, we are advocating the use of Service Learning. The projects resulting from this initiative will be able show future graduates the importance of creativity and the important role of science and technology in the future welfare of society; two points capable of inspiring vocation and enhancing the sense of belonging to the STEM collective in the first STEM degree courses. In this paper, we present the project and describe some of the experiences we have identified at our university, with the aim of using them for student attraction and engagement.
CitationLópez, D. Using service learning for improving student attraction and engagement in STEM studies. A: SEFI Annual Conference. "45th SEFI Conference, 18-21 September 2017, Azores, Portugal". Terceira Island, Azores: European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI), 2017, p. 1053-1060.