General description of the project:
New Jersey City University (NJCU) is an urban, public, Hispanic-serving and minority institution in Jersey City, New Jersey that enrolls about 5,500 undergraduate students, of which about 1,200 are STEM students and 43% Hispanic. NJCU developed the OnPACE Mentoring Program, a component of the federal Title V DHSI grant entitled, “On PACE for STEM Success: Personal, Academic & Career Enhancement at an Urban Public HSI.” The OnPACE for STEM Success grant expands educational opportunities for Hispanic and low-income STEM students and improve their academic and postgraduate outcomes.
The OnPACE Mentoring program is a year-long program with frequent interaction among members of mentee cohorts. The OnPACE Mentoring program model provides students with faculty-based coaching and “soft skills” development, including role modeling, career exploration, financial and financial aid literacy, study skills, and events led by practicing professionals. To improve student participation within the OnPACE Mentoring Program a digital badging program was implemented.
The digital badging program was a cost-effective and innovative practice to improve student engagement and retention. Partnering with the Center for Leadership and Engagement we were able to utilize their digital badging platform subscription at no additional cost. Students were able to earn digital badges which showcased their skills and knowledge in research, career and/or academic preparedness making them marketable to future employers. Thirty-seven students and counting have already earned digital badges through this opportunity.