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Development Of An Academic Program That Increases Multi Ethnic Student Retention In Engineering

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Retention Issues

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.463.1 - 11.463.6



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Paper Authors


Allene Manning Purdue University

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Allene Manning is the Strategic Partnership Facilitator for Minority Engineering Programs at Purdue University. She received both her B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. at Purdue and is currently pursuing her PhD in Physics. Ms. Manning also serves as the MEP liaison for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) programs. These programs are designed to encourage engineering research and the pursuit of a PHD in either science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

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Virginia Booth-Gleghorn Purdue University-MEP

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Virginia Booth Gleghorn is the Director of Minority Engineering Programs at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering as well as her B.A. in Psychology at Purdue University. After 18 years in a Corporate environment as an engineering and a manufacturing manager, she has returned to Purdue to assist students in their transition from student to professional. Her current efforts as MEP Director include the development of strong retention initiatives.

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Monica Cox Purdue University

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Monica Farmer Cox is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, her M.S. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Alabama, and her B.S. in Mathematics at Spelman College. Her research interests include teaching and learning in engineering education; engineering faculty and student development; and assessment and evaluation of engineering curricula, faculty pedagogy, student learning, student retention, and student engagement within engineering courses.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015