June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Minorities in Engineering
13.458.1 - 13.458.13
ECAP: A Recruitment-to-Graduation Program for Underrepresented Engineering Students Abstract
According to the National Science Foundation, as of 2000, African Americans made up only 6.9% of the total science and engineering workforce and people of Hispanic origin made up only 3.2%. These figures exemplify the continuing challenge facing the engineering community to take advantage of the untapped talent among underrepresented ethic minorities and highlights the fact that these groups remain overlooked by current recruitment and retention approaches employed by universities.
This paper introduces the Engineering Career Awareness Program (ECAP) at the University of Arkansas. This program is an engineering diversity recruitment-to-graduation initiative to increase the number of underrepresented students entering and graduating from engineering disciplines. This program combines several piloted and proven recruitment and retention strategies into one cohesive program to recruit and retain minority students. The recruitment strategy is grounded in the education of students previously unaware of STEM career possibilities, highlighting the exciting possibilities of life as an engineer. Cornerstones of the retention program are: 1) A 3-week summer in-residence engineering bridge program for ECAP students to engage in engineering/teambuilding activities, make friends, and transition to campus life; 2) Renewable scholarships to supplement scholarships and federal grants to bring the students’ total award to the University of Arkansas cost of attendance, thereby removing financial barriers and increasing retention for those who could not otherwise attend college; 3) Yearly paid summer co-op or research opportunities after the freshman year; 4) A peer mentoring program where the freshmen and sophomores are mentored by juniors and seniors who serve as mentors; 5) Involvement and leadership activities with a student organization of the students’ choice; 5) An ECAP living-learning community where students live in a common community while solidifying academic and social connections; and 6) Freshman Engineering Program participation designed to increase retention of all freshmen students by providing a facility for freshman, specialized advising, tutoring, block scheduling, and a common introductory engineering course.
Our inaugural class of 21 minority ECAP students was recruited during the 2006-2007 academic year through targeted advertising and recruitment, and the second cohort of ECAP students is currently being recruited. The satisfaction and success of the current cohort is creating an additional pool of applicants in addition to those being created through other recruitment methods. The first cohort has attended the very successful Engineering Summer Bridge Program, and all began their engineering degree programs in fall of 2007. This paper will detail the recruitment and retention strategies used for the ECAP program, so they can be replicated by other universities. Quantitative and qualitative program assessment and evaluation will be included.
Gattis, C., & Davis, S., & Hill, B., & Kirkwood, P. (2008, June), Ecap: A Recruitment To Graduation Program For Underrepresented Engineering Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4074
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