June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Minorities in Engineering
11.463.1 - 11.463.6
Development of an Academic Camp That Increases Multi-Ethnic Student Retention in Engineering Abstract- To ease admitted pre-college engineering students’ transition to college at Purdue University, the Minority Engineering Programs Office (MEP) of Purdue University created a five-week on-campus academic summer program: The Academic Boot Camp, that enrolled its first class of students in June 2005. Within this program, twenty-four multi-ethnic students attended first-year level Calculus, Chemistry, English, Introductory Engineering and Design courses. Four staff members, three counselors, six instructors and two supplemental instructors supervised students during the five weeks and helped them become familiar with the culture of the university and of the local community. In addition to attending academic classes, students attended several off-campus venues that related to the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. The program concluded with a semi-formal student reception and with a closing ceremony in which students received awards. Parents, university administrators, faculty, and students celebrated the success of the camp at the closing ceremony. This paper discusses the development of the program, suggestions for enhancing the program and ways to assess the program’s effectiveness.
A study conducted by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and funded by the Exxon Education Foundation1 attempted to answer the question of whether or not, upon graduation, student achievement in engineering reasonably correlated with students’ qualifications at their point of entry into college. According to the study, the mean GPAs for African-American (2.15), Hispanic (2.39), and non-minority (white) (2.67) engineering graduates were compared. The results were alarming. For non minority (white) students, 45% entered with a B+ average, and 33% graduated with a B+ average. For Hispanic students, the numbers were 46% and 18%, respectively. For African-American students, however, the numbers were significantly different. Thirty-seven percent of African-American students entered with a B+ average, but only 5% graduated with a B+ Average.
In response to decreases in academic achievement for many minority students within engineering undergraduate programs over time, several colleges have implemented “bridge programs,” which have been used to improve high school to college transition of students, especially those in underrepresented groups and those who may have attended high school programs that lacked academic rigor.2,3,4 In addition to helping students succeed academically, these programs have the potential to provide positive environmental and social climates that can play significant roles in building students’ senses of ‘belonging’.
Although summer bridge programs have existed for over two decades, one program that has served as a model for the program described within this paper is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Challenge Program, which introduces first-year mathematics and science minority students to the rigors of college life.4 Over several years, the Challenge Program has shown strong upward trends of academic achievement for students who participate in the program compared to those who do not participate.
Manning, A., & Booth-Gleghorn, V., & Cox, M. (2006, June), Development Of An Academic Program That Increases Multi Ethnic Student Retention In Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1004
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