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Ecap: A Recruitment To Graduation Program For Underrepresented Engineering Students

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Recruitment and Retention

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.458.1 - 13.458.13



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Paper Authors


Carol Gattis University of Arkansas

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Dr. Carol Gattis is the Director of Recruitment, Retention, Honors and Diversity for the College of Engineering and an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. In this latter role, she directs and develops new programs for the college-wide efforts in recruitment, retention and diversity, including the ECAP program.

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Shannon Davis University of Arkansas

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Dr. Shannon Davis is the Assistant Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. She has conducted research in the area of education policy, school-based interventions, minority political attitudes in the area of education, organizational behavior and political psychology. She has taught courses in these areas and has been at the University of Arkansas for ten years.

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Bryan Hill University of Arkansas

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Bryan Hill, an industrial engineer, is the Associate Director of Recruitment, Retention and Diversity for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. He manages the college-wide recruitment operation and is directly involved in the recruitment of ECAP students.

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Patricia Kirkwood University of Arkansas

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Patricia Kirkwood is the engineering librarian at the University of Arkansas. Her undergraduate degree is in chemistry with a masters degree in library and information science. With 25 years experience as a science librarian in major university she works with students at all levels to help them efficiently use information to be successful in college classes.

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

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

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: © 2008 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