An Engineering Success Centre was formed with the long-term goals of providing targeted first-year support, increasing retention, and developing leaders. The novelty of the Centre is that the priorities and activities were defined by the students that were employed to run it in a shared leadership model. Student leaders were in various years of undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees, which provided multiple years for leadership opportunities and organizational memory.
The priorities identified by the student leaders were to: (1) guide students through their time in engineering, (2) connect students with campus resources, (3) impact the overall experience for students in a positive way, and (4) assist students with educational needs such as tutoring, writing support, and CAD development. Between the drop-in hours and professional development programs, 145 students (55% of engineering students) interacted over 400 times in formal Centre activities throughout the year, and at least 77% of students engaged in online or asynchronous platforms. This paper was written by two of the student leaders and the faculty coordinator to document the motivations, successes, and challenges of the Centre in its inaugural year and promote shared ownership in academic support centres. Goals were derived, and a model was developed to map Centre activities, priorities, and goals to assess the success of the Centre.