June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Minorities in Engineering
A major challenge in K-16 education is a prevalence of students who desire to pursue an undergraduate engineering degree, but are unprepared for the rigors of a post- secondary engineering curriculum. Many challenges with the high school-to-college transition in engineering are due to a lack of rigorous mathematical and technical education at the secondary level. This issue is particularly significant in secondary schools that serve traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations. One solution is for students to obtain an associate of science (AS) degree in an engineering related discipline from a community college (CC), and to then transition to an undergraduate institution for a bachelor of engineering (BE) degree. This approach allows students to fill in any academic gaps in learning during their secondary education, confirm their interest in engineering, while maintaining any requisite work or family obligations. Although this can be a successful model to an engineering bachelor degree, a lack of communication and coordination between the community college and senior college can result in classes not being transferred, missed registration periods, and semester gaps which can result in a lack of retention. To address these issues and create a straight forward pathway from AS to BE, between 2003-2009, our institution developed four AS/BE dual degree programs with each of two local CC, both of which serve large populations of underserved and underrepresented minorities. In the AS/BE program, the student spends two years at the community college, and upon receiving an AS degree, enters our engineering program as a 3rd year student. Students in our AS/BE programs benefit in a myriad ways including: 1) advanced level status as bachelor candidates (3rd year undergraduate) once receiving AS degree; 2) CC classes readily transfer to senior college through articulation agreement between the two schools; 3) lower CC tuition for two years before entering the more costly senior college; 4) individualized academic support services from their CC, and 5) more flexible times for course offerings during their first two years at CC so work or family obligations can be managed. In 2010, we examined the establishment and development of these programs, performed an initial assessment of student progress (persistence and student GPA), and provided best practices.
The current study revisits the progress of these programs, 13 years after the creation of the first AS/BE program, to perform a longitudinal study to investigate the degree of academic success in the program. Factors such as graduation rate, time to BE completion, point of entry GPA, and final GPA will be examined. Best practices as well as continued challenges will be presented. Finally, we investigate how changes in the technological, financial, and socio-economic/socio-political landscape over the past several years has impacted these programs and will offer revised best practices and recommendations on expanding AS/BE programs.
Brown, L., & Walser, A. D., & Beharry, R. (2017, June), Creating Institutional Bridges to Engineering for Underserved Populations: Examining Associate-to-Bachelor Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28084
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