June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.424.1 - 15.424.9
Development of the Reinvigorating Engineering and Changing History (REACH) Program: A Cohort Experience for First-Time Graduate Students
In 2009, the Reinvigorating Engineering and Changing History (REACH) Scholars Program was developed at a Midwestern University to offer qualified Master’s and direct Ph.D. engineering students opportunities to explore multiple academic pathways and to work closely with their peers and with faculty to create a community of scholars who will be prepared broadly for careers across multiple domains. Informed from research, a central feature of the REACH Scholars Program is the use of a multiple apprenticeship model consisting of five features (intentionality; multiple relationships; collective responsibility; recognition; and respect, trust, and reciprocity) in which mentors will introduce Scholars to the engineering community and will provide them with a variety of perspectives to help them succeed as Scholars. The implementation of these five tenets enhances the professional development of Scholars via intentionally establishing multiple mentoring relationships within a collaborative learning environment. Other features of the program include Scholar participation in professional development workshops and seminars; engagement in research and grant writing groups; collaboration with existing campus programs to create sustainable communities across diverse graduate student populations; and the development of research skills. This paper provides an overview of the program and research questions that are being explored via the participation of students and mentors in the program.
Project Objectives and Plans The Reinvigorating Engineering and Changing History (REACH) Scholars Program offers qualified Master’s and direct Ph.D. engineering students opportunities to explore multiple academic pathways and to work closely with their peers, with alumni, and with faculty to create a community of scholars who will be prepared broadly for careers across multiple domains. Several aspects of this program have been informed by internal interviews with current graduate students, faculty, and administrators and by research identifying components that are most likely to promote student success within graduate engineering programs.
Findings from interviews with stakeholders provided much insight into challenges facing many domestic engineering students entering their first year of graduate school. First, many domestic graduate students have difficulty transitioning from undergraduate programs to graduate engineering programs. This is particularly true for students graduating from colleges and universities located in urban environments, for students graduating from minority-serving institutions or predominantly undergraduate institutions, or for students whose undergraduate academic programs were not as rigorous as those offered elsewhere. Second, many domestic students who enroll in a Master’s program are not offered funding during their first semester. Reasons for this include previously enrolled graduate students garnering prime research assistantships, higher funding priorities being given to engineering Ph.D. students, and a preference for many engineering faculty to work with international students whose technical skills may be more developed at their time of enrollment than the skills of domestic students. Finally, students reported the lack of community present for graduate engineering students when
Cox, M., & Lynch, C., & Zhu, J., & Dunston, P., & Fentiman, A., & Shaw, P., & Evangelou, D. (2010, June), Development Of The Reinvigorating Engineering And Changing History (Reach) Program: A Cohort Experience For First Time Graduate Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16781
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