June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.484.1 - 10.484.5
Diversity in Engineering Education--What Are the Perceived Issues?
Carla Purdy, University of Cincinnati (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mara Wasburn, Purdue University (email@example.com)
At the Annual ASEE Conference in June 2004, three ASEE divisions--the Graduate Division, Women in Engineering, and Minorities in Engineering--co-sponsored a panel session on "Recruiting and Building Diversity". In this paper we summarize the issues raised by the panel members and by members of the audience in June 2004 as an introduction to a further discussion of diversity, along with a plan for action, by leading engineering educators. Issues of concern at the 2004 session included downsizing and consolidation of diversity programs, providing sufficient mentoring and role models, failure to institutionalize diversity programs, the disparity between students' and advisors' definitions of a "best fit" graduate program, the use of GRE scores in admission decisions, graduate student socialization, and the need for more information on career options early in students' college careers.
The need for diversity at all levels of the engineering profession has been well-documented1,2,3,4. However, current enrollment figures for both undergraduate and graduate engineering programs show that, for the most part, women and minorities are still under-represented5. At many institutions, especially state-supported universities, tight budgets are forcing some diversity programs to downsize. In addition, at the graduate level, it is highly likely that diversity will also be negatively impacted by the decline in international students, which has been noted in recent years and seems to be continuing6. Thus to achieve the desired diversity new strategies must be developed.
Compared to the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, relatively little research has focused on specific strategies for diversifying the engineering graduate student population. In particular, relatively little research has examined the specific social and community needs of graduate students and how to support these needs in the traditional graduate education framework. Related questions about how best to support part-time graduate education and nontraditional students also need to be addressed. One promising ongoing study in this area was described in the panel session on “Recruiting and Building Diversity” cosponsored by the Graduate Division, Minorities in Engineering, and Women in Engineering at the 2004 ASEE Conference7. Results from this study should provide much useful information for faculty and administrators concerned about diversity in engineering graduate programs.
Questions and concerns raised by the audience at last year's panel discussion can be grouped into several general areas. These areas can highlight the concerns specific to graduate education and can provide a basis for faculty and administrators to develop effective strategies. Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Purdy, C., & Wasburn, M. (2005, June), Diversity In Engineering Education What Are The Perceived Issues? Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14991
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