June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Minorities in Engineering
24.530.1 - 24.530.13
Enhancing Undergraduate Civil Engineering Opportunities for Minority, Female, and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Students in South CarolinaIn South Carolina, 16.4 percent of SC residents live below the poverty level and SC isconsiderably worse than the national US average of 13.8 percent (US Census Bureau,2010). During the 2008-2009 academic year, 7.3 percent (n=57) of SC engineeringbachelor degrees (n= 771) were awarded to African American students. During the sameperiod, 3.0 percent (n=4) of SC civil engineering bachelor degrees (n= 133) wereawarded to African American students (American Society for Engineering Education,2010). In 2008, African Americans comprised 28.5 percent of South Carolina’spopulation (US Census Bureau, 2010) and are extremely underrepresented in the state’sengineering programs.During the 2008-2009 academic year, 16.5 percent (n=127) of South Carolinaengineering bachelor degrees (n= 771) were awarded to female students attendingcolleges and universities in the state. During the same period, 11.3 percent (n=15) of SCcivil engineering bachelor degrees (n= 133) were awarded to female students (AmericanSociety for Engineering Education, 2010).South Carolina statistics are below the national average indicating that minority andfemale students are underrepresented in the state’s engineering undergraduate programs.Through the support of the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM program, a studentscholarship and enhancement program has been developed to begin to address theseissues. The program awards qualified students, within target demographic groups, withscholarship funds needed to obtain a civil engineering degree and, equally as important,provides a variety of additional support services designed to improve retention anddevelop principled leaders. Program services include: • Participation in student learning communities • Professional mentoring from practicing engineers • Civil engineering community service projects • Enrollment in a summer college transition program leading into the freshman year • Academic benefits from interaction with a learning coach • Professional leadership seminarsThis paper presents the process used to develop new and enhance existing programs,outlines the research plan for a longitudinal study focusing on cognitive and professionaldevelopment of student participants, presents initial data regarding statewide recruitmentand freshman retention, and presents initial results and resulting study adjustments. Theformation of important and productive partnerships with a variety of stakeholders neededto create a successful program organizational structure are discussed, as well asadministrative and institutional hurdles that had to be cleared to establish this studentscholarship and enhancement program.
Davis, W. J., & Bower, K. C., & Welch, R. W., & Connor, E. (2014, June), Enhancing Undergraduate Civil Engineering Opportunities for Minority, Female, and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20422
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