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Engineering Student Development And Retention Strategies At A Historically Black University

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Retention of STEM Students

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.650.1 - 12.650.8



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Paper Authors

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Morrison Obeng Bethune-Cookman College

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Xiaohe Wu Bethune-Cookman College

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

Engineering Student Development and Retention Strategies at A Historically Black University


Student retention and completion of degrees in the STEM areas are issues that higher education institutions have been dealing with for quite sometime. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) also have their share of issues with STEM-student development, retention and completion of degrees. Various approaches have been adopted by educators and researches to alleviate the STEM-student development, retention and graduation problems. Unfortunately, the retention rates and graduation rates are still lower than desired. There is a need to continue to re-asses and re-evaluate previous efforts and to investigate and research alternative or additional methods and techniques to enhance student development, retention and graduation rates in the STEM disciplines at HBCUs.

In this paper, the engineering student development and retention strategies at Bethune-Cookman University, a Historically Black University are discussed and compared with strategies at other institutions of higher education.


Many students who enter college to study engineering go with the notion that scientific knowledge is certain. The teacher lectures it to them; they memorize it and reproduce it on tests and exams. Educational Research points to the Models of Intellectual Development, the levels of which indicate whether a student is at a blind acceptance of authority/knowledge level (Perry’s Level 1) or anywhere in-between up to the level where they accept knowledge conditionally until the evidence that supports it changes (Perry’s Level 9). Research further shows that as students move from the lower levels of the Intellectual Development Models to higher levels, the students become more open to alternative ideas and accept responsibility for their own learning1,2. Engineering Programs strive to move their students up the ladder of the Models of Intellectual Development.

This paper describes the development and retention strategies in the engineering program at Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) an HBCU. The strategies are meant to help the engineering students to become more active and self-directed learners who are motivated and retained in the field of engineering. It is our hope that these strategies will move the BCU engineering student up the ladder of the Intellectual Development Models. BCU offers a four year Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering and a “ 3 + 2 ” dual-degree program in engineering with partner engineering schools. The portion of the dual-degree program taken at BCU is referred to as pre-engineering.

Obeng, M., & Wu, X. (2007, June), Engineering Student Development And Retention Strategies At A Historically Black University Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3019

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