June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Minorities in Engineering
13.136.1 - 13.136.14
Academic Achievement and Retention in a Minority Engineering Program
The Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) was awarded funding in 2003 as a part of 13 five-year block grants given to colleges and universities that year. The funding was given by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) for a program to increase the number of underrepresented minority students (African American, Hispanic, and Native American) enrolled in engineering and to increase their retention and graduation rates to that comparable for non-minority students.
This successful NACME program at ASU has now completed four years of programming and has now had 73 students who have held NACME Scholarships. This paper looks at the NACME program lessons learned, the retention of the NACME cohorts relative to non-minority students and to minority students who did not attend the NACME program, the academic achievement of the students, and areas of the program which could improve. The paper includes the summary of the semester evaluations submitted by the students.
I. Introduction and Background
In 2003, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) gave 13 five-year block grants to colleges and universities. Arizona State University (ASU) was one of those 13 schools. The purpose of the funding was to increase the number of underrepresented minority students (African American, Hispanic, and Native American) enrolled in engineering and to increase their retention and graduation rates to that comparable for non-minority students. An additional goal of the ASU Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering NACME Program is to have the NACME students go on to graduate school.
There have been many targeted efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority engineering students.1 Effective retention models for minority freshmen include: summer bridge programs,2 year-long bridge programs,3 minority engineering programs,4,5 and academic scholarship programs6. The NACME program at ASU builds on a summer bridge program and incorporates the other three types of programs just mentioned.7
Each summer the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering runs a two-week residential Minority Engineering (MEP) Bridge Program to interest, encourage, and support minority students just graduated from high school who are thinking about engineering. Nearly 100% of the students who attend the summer bridge program attend ASU in the fall as engineering or computer science students. The School of Engineering includes both Computer Science Engineering and Computer Science in the same department. Henceforth in this paper when engineering is mentioned, it includes engineering and computer science students. Students from this MEP program, as well as all entering minority engineering students, are sent emails to urge them to apply for the NACME scholarship if they qualify. With admission data in hand, emails are just sent to students with at least a 3.0 GPA in high school.
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