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Engagement in Practice: Accessing Engineering Stakeholder Perceptions at HBCUs During COVID-19 by Leveraging University Leaders and Partners

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Brittany Nicole Boyd Morgan State University Orcid 16x16

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Brittany N. Boyd is currently a doctoral student at Morgan State University. Her research interests include scale development to examine post-secondary experiences and program evaluation for supplemental programs, with a focus on the impact of intervention programs and other support systems on the retention of underrepresented students.

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Jay Phillip Jefferson Florida International University

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I am currently a Postdoc within SUCCEED at Florida International University. My research passions are centered at the intersections of equity in higher education, advocacy, social justice, and overall allowing for the expression of an authentic self in educational spaces in route to achieving student success.

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Trina L. Fletcher Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Fletcher is currently an Assistant Professor at Florida International University. Her research focus equity and inclusion within STEM education, STEM at HBCUs and K-12 STEM education. Prior to FIU, Dr. Fletcher served as the Director of Pre-college Programs for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Additionally, she spent time in industry holding technical and operations-based roles and has experience with outreach projects focused on STEM education and mentoring.

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Lesia L. Crumpton-Young Morgan State University

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Dr. Crumpton-Young serves as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Engineering at Morgan State University.

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Ashton Stepter

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COVID-19 has created an unprecedented global crisis disrupting life as we know it, negatively affecting the overall economy, and abruptly transmuting the traditional methods, experiences and abilities of higher education institutions’ faculty, staff and students. For minority serving institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the challenges which include smaller endowments, less funding from alumni, and lower levels of federal investment, were immediately felt (Neelakantan, 2020; NASEM, 2019, Gasman, 2013).

A collaborative research group, including a minority engineering society and leaders from five HBCUs, were assembled under the leadership of a core research team at a large MSI to achieve the goals of the project. This collaborative group worked together to collect information from engineering stakeholders (i.e., faculty, staff, students) at HBCUs through an electronic survey. Through this process, a survey instrument was developed and deployed to investigate the following research question: How has COVID-19 impacted the success and persistence of engineering students, faculty and staff at historically Black colleges and universities?

Prior to kicking off the official survey outreach, the core research team conducting a thorough piloting process for validity and reliability purposes. Following that, the official outreach strategy was executed and comprised of survey distribution to the membership of the partnering engineering society, HBCUs, and other affiliate organizations. This included email blasts and social media outreach. After implementation of the initial outreach strategy, survey participation was lower than expected. In an effort to increase participation, a multi-pronged recruitment approach was implemented, and the survey collection period was extended. The approach included an intensive Twitter campaign soliciting support from university leaders and student groups as well as personalized emails. Additionally, the collaborative research team leveraged their professional contacts and access to stakeholders. Direct appeals to university stakeholders have yielded the most participation, to date. The combined efforts of institutional partners and the broader HBCU community highlight the importance of collaboration and networking, more broadly. In this regard, this paper also discusses the need for inter-institutional relationships in promoting education advocacy and support and provides perspective on how connections may be established and maintained in equitable ways.

Boyd, B. N., & Jefferson, J. P., & Fletcher, T. L., & Crumpton-Young, L. L., & Stepter, A. (2021, July), Engagement in Practice: Accessing Engineering Stakeholder Perceptions at HBCUs During COVID-19 by Leveraging University Leaders and Partners Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37034

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