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Engagement in Practice: the Student Engagement Continuum (SEC) – Opportunities and Challenges for a Sustainable Pipeline Enhancement Model at an Urban Institution

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engagement in Practice: Creating a Robust Infrastructure for Community Engagement

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Gregory E. Triplett Virginia Commonwealth University Orcid 16x16

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Triplett is a Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Triplett oversees all aspects of graduate engineering programs including curriculum development, student recruitment and matriculation, strategic planning, student funding, graduate research, and online education. Prior to being Associate Dean, Triplett was Director of Undergraduate Studies in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Associate Director in the Honors College at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Triplett has won awards for his research, teaching, and service. He directs the Precision Imaging Research Laboratory (PIRL), which focuses on the development and integration of nanomaterials and their applications in biomedical, energy, and physical science. He currently focuses on the capture of signal transduction mechanisms in real time, specifically interactions between amino acid functional groups of proteins with donor molecules and protein kinase using photonic technology integration. He graduated from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Florida State University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS, MS, and PhD, respectively, in electrical engineering.

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Jenilee Stanley-Shanks Virginia Commonwealth University

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Jenilee Stanley-Shanks is Director of Government and Community Outreach at Virginia Commonwealth University in the School of Engineering. She has a passion for policy creation and implementation and has led the charge to gather, organize and analyze data on community engagement activities with the purpose of maximizing benefit to both the internal and external communities at VCU Engineering. Stanley-Shanks earned her M.S. in Public Policy from Georgia Institute of Technology and her B.A. in Theatre from Oglethorpe University. She chairs the School of Engineering’s Community Engagement and Outreach Committee and leads School outreach activities to support K-12 STEM education, raise the awareness of engineering as a profession, and encourage diversity in engineering. An alumna of the VCU Leadership Development Program through the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, Stanley-Shanks has received recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia for her role as Engineering Campaign Associate for the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. For VCU, she serves on the VCU Strategic Plan Steering Committee, the Council for Community Engagement, and the HR Redesign Performance Management Implementation Committee. Stanley-Shanks is advisor to the oSTEM@VCU student organization and is an Ambassador for the Richmond 300 strategic planning process with the City of Richmond.

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Lori A. Floyd-Miller Virginia Commonwealth University

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The ever-growing domestic need for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals is, in part, because the STEM discipline covers a broad range of topics in a fast-paced, wildly competitive high-tech sector. These topics touch nearly every aspect of human life, where technological advancements are produced from workgroups with diversity of thought (the power of diversity and inclusion). Recognizing the more cross-disciplinary shape STEM will take in the future, the “grand challenges” issued by the White House under President Obama and developed by the National Academies include complex yet critical goals such as engineering better medicines, restoring and improving urban infrastructure, securing cyberspace, and advancing personalized learning tools to deliver better education to more individuals. These have been the talking points for many educators in attempt to motivate more student interest in STEM.

Yet, the ability to attract, retain, and educate a diverse population of STEM majors remains a much larger concern, and this impacts the US global competitiveness, educational and technological infrastructure, workforce diversity, and homeland security issues, to name a few. A closer look at enrollment trends in STEM disciplines suggest that, in comparison with STEM job opportunities, too many domestic students either lack aptitude or interest in STEM prior to college and this does not keep pace with the growing job opportunities for STEM graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, STEM jobs will grow nine (9) million by 2022. In terms of individual occupations, information security analysis has a projected growth of 37% until 2022 (the best), whereas environmental science and protection has a projected growth rate of 19% (the lowest), yet both of these are very good markers. Not surprisingly, the general categories for these occupations relate to quality education, food (security) and healthcare.

This talk describes the early stages of an effort to construct a sustainable Student Engagement Continuum (SEC) at an urban institution, which provides a holistic approach to student learning and opens up opportunities for teachers, community leaders, university professors and business leaders to work collaboratively together to develop and leverage learning innovation that is transferrable and scalable. With the goal of bringing together thought-leaders in the community who aspire for significant key learning that will fuel curriculum and spark new research initiatives across the educational ecosystem, the SEC draws upon an urban region that has the necessary ingredients, experience, and assets at this critical stage for tapping a currently unrealized wealth of diverse people, ideas and skill sets that will result in a robust pipeline of STEM professionals from all backgrounds, particularly traditionally underrepresented groups via thoughtful introduction and steady involvement. Because an SEC requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, the challenges, opportunities, and impact will also be presented.

Triplett, G. E., & Stanley-Shanks, J., & Floyd-Miller, L. A. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: the Student Engagement Continuum (SEC) – Opportunities and Challenges for a Sustainable Pipeline Enhancement Model at an Urban Institution Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30394

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