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A Better Mousetrap: Why Did They Come?

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engagement in Formal and Informal Learning Environments

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.21.1 - 23.21.15



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Paper Authors


Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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Dr. Mary Anderson-Rowland is the PI of an NSF STEP grant to work with five
non-metropolitan community colleges to produce more engineers, especially female and underrepresented minority engineers. She also directs two academic scholarship programs, including one for transfer students. An Associate Professor in Computing, Informatics, and Systems Design Engineering, she was the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU from 1993-2004. Anderson-Rowland was named a top 5% teacher in the Fulton Schools of Engineering for 2009-2010. She received the WEPAN Engineering Educator Award 2009, ASEE Minorities Award 2006, the SHPE Educator of the Year 2005, and the National Engineering Award in 2003, the highest honor given by AAES. In 2002 she was named the Distinguished Engineering Educator by the Society of Women Engineers. She has over 180 publications primarily in the areas of recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minority engineering and computer science students. Her awards are based on her mentoring of students, especially women and underrepresented minority students, and her research in the areas of recruitment and retention. A SWE and ASEE Fellow, she is a frequent speaker on career opportunities and diversity in engineering.

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A Better Mousetrap: Why Did They Come?An Academic Success and Professional Development Class (ASAP) has been offered for over 10years for engineering and computer science students. Workshops were first held for studentswith scholarships from NSF S-STEM programs, with an emphasis on females andunderrepresented minority students. Later the workshops were changed to a class so thatstudents had the option of receiving one-credit hour. Later all scholarship students were requiredto enroll in the class as a part of their commitment to the scholarship program. The number forthe class was changed from a 200-level to a 300-level, making it more transparent that this classwas for upper division students: non-transfers and transfers in engineering and computer science.Students without scholarships also attended the class due to word-of-mouth on how valuable theclass was, even though the credit does not count on a program of study.A major purpose of the class is to help new upper division transfer students (both urban andrural) adjust from the small, cozy confines of a community college (CC) to a large university.The ASAP class has a large emphasis on the “Guaranteed 4.0 Plan” developed by Donna O.Johnson, research, internships, career planning, and graduate school. For several years, newtransfer students have been sent emails telling them of the scholarships available, as well as theclass to help them in their transition. However, during the last couple of years, suddenly theenrollment in this class which has some 80 scholarships holders has blossomed in attendance.The enrollment for the past several semesters has been 98, 107, 121, 134, and now 175. In Fall2012, over 100 students are new to the class and over 75 of these are transfer students new to theuniversity.A survey was taken of all of the students in the class to help determine the major causes of theenrollment increase. Possible factors for students not required to attend the class include: word-of-mouth at either the CC or the university, more CC students are enrolling earlier and arelearning about services at the university, academic advisors are encouraging new transferstudents to take ASAP which can replace a 101 introduction course, academic advisors aresending students to the class to help improve their grades, there is a $300 scholarship available tomost students at the end of the course if they complete it with all of their assignments, studentswho did not receive the scholarship know that their chances of getting a scholarship the next yearare improved if they attend the class, heard about class at university transfer orientation, emailssent by the transfer center, and students who happened to stop by the transfer center inengineering and computer science. To further help understand the audience, we also asked themwhat they most expected to get out of the class including: information on scholarships,internships, and graduate school; networking; help GPA; ease transfer transition; don’t know, orother factors.The data is also analyzed according to age, gender, and ethnicity. A new type of student ispresent in larger numbers: males over 25 who are now pursuing their first degree in engineering.A characterization of these students is given. The results of this study are analyzed to help guidefuture advertisement of the program.

Anderson-Rowland, M. R. (2013, June), A Better Mousetrap: Why Did They Come? Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19035

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