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Enriching the Diversity of the Engineering Workforce: Addressing Missed Opportunities to Support Student Transition from a Two- to a Four-Year Institution

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Addressing Diversity Issues in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jackie Perez Texas A&M University - Dwight Look College of Engineering

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Jackie Perez is the Director for the Texas A&M Engineering Academies. She is responsible for the development and programmatic aspects of each partnership including each of the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academies. She is excited about the innovative pathway that the Engineering Academies provide students and the opportunity to impact students who may have otherwise never considered a baccalaureate degree, much less a B.S. degree in engineering.

Mrs. Perez has over 15 years of experience in advising and leadership roles. In 2001 she completed her baccalaureate degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University. She spent the next 8 years working for the Department of Family and Protective Services. In 2009 Mrs. Perez returned to Texas A&M University working for the College of Engineering. Her responsibilities have included student advising, overseeing recruiting initiatives and program development, scholarship awarding, and working in partnership with various institutional entities.

Mrs. Perez is married and has three children. She also serves on the Brazos County Child Welfare Board. In her career, she appreciates seeing the confidence develop in her students. She believes one of the best compliments someone in academia can receive is being told by a student that your support and encouragement helped them persist and succeed.

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So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral research associate at Texas A&M University. She received her Ph.D. and Educational Psychology with specialties in Gifted Education and Research Methods & Measurement from Purdue University. She also holds a M.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics and a B.S. in Astronomy & Meteorology from Kyungpook National University in South Korea. Her work centers on P-16 engineering education research as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. As a psychometrician, she revised the PSVT:R for secondary and undergraduate students, developed the TESS (Teaching Engineering Self-efficacy Scale) for K-12 teachers, and rescaled the SASI (Student Attitudinal Success Inventory) for engineering students. As a program evaluator, she evaluated the effects of teacher professional development (TPD) programs on elementary teachers’ attitudes toward engineering and students’ STEM knowledge through a NSF DRK-12 project. As an institutional data analyst, she is investigating engineering students’ diverse pathways to their success.

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Teri Kristine Reed Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Teri Reed is assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs for engineering academic programs in the Texas A&M System and an associate professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, 3126 TAMU, College Station, TX, 77843-3126;

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Cecelia Diane Lawley Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Cindy Lawley serves as Executive Director of Academic Initiatives for the Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M University. In this position, Dr. Lawley is responsible for the operations and management of the PreK-12 Engineering Education Outreach Program, the Engineering Academies Program, the System Schools Program, and the Professional and Continuing Education Program. She has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Purdue University, a M.A. in Education from the University of Alabama, and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Mississippi University for Women. Prior to moving to this position with the Vice Chancellor in August of this year, Dr. Lawley was the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. Previous to moving to Texas A&M in August 2014, she was the Director of External Relations for the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. In that role, Dr. Lawley worked directly with Industry to place students in internship/co-op positions, recruited students to Civil Engineering, and managed marketing and communication efforts for the School. Dr. Lawley has taught courses in Technical Communications for Engineers and Law and Ethics at Purdue University.

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Educators across the State of Texas and nation are engaged in efforts to answer calls including the 2011 President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness goal of 10,000 more engineering students from US colleges and universities each year, the 2012 President’s Council on Science and Technology recommendation for 1 million more STEM degrees in the next decade, and Texas Workforce Commission estimated state projected need of 62,000 more engineers (25% increase) by 2022, developing strategic pathways to increase students, and underrepresented students in particular, achieving STEM degrees is essential (PCJC, 2011; PCAST, 2012; TWC, 2014; Ogilvie, 2014).

Nearly half (49%) of students earning a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering reported attending a community college at some point in their education (NSF, 2014). Two-year college students represent an increasing proportion of all undergraduate enrollment growing from 43% in 2011 to 46% in 2013 and are historically over-represented populations underrepresented in engineering with over half of the Hispanic (57%), Native American (61%), and Black (52%) college students (AACC, 2015; Ogilvie, 2014; Sullivan et al., 2012). However, students starting in two-year colleges face many challenges such as clear pathways, supportive policies, and systemic support between two-year and four-year institutions (Kuh et al., 2000; Gibbons, et al., 2011; Blash et al., 2012). To enrich the diversity of the engineering workforce, we must recognize and recruit from the two-year institution talent pool and provide a clear and transparent pathway that is student centered and institutionally supported.

This paper will highlight partnerships between two year institutions and a prominent four-year institution in the state of Texas providing students an opportunity to be co-enrolled at the two and four-year institution. Students earn engineering course credit from the four-year institution beginning with the first semester they are admitted to the program. This unique co-enrollment model allows students to remain close to home earning measurable progress towards completing a bachelor’s degree while simultaneously completing an associate’s degree. Programs are imbedded in the partnerships to help students develop an institutional identity and adapt to the academic and social environment of the four year institution.

The US Census Bureau (2012) reported, that as of 2011, Texas was one of 5 majority minority states. These partnerships increase educational opportunities and support efforts to produce engineers reflective of the community. This paper shares the challenges and successes learned during the first three years of the program and the planned expansion to further recruit, retain and graduate a more diverse engineering demographic.

Perez, J., & Yoon, S. Y., & Reed, T. K., & Lawley, C. D. (2016, June), Enriching the Diversity of the Engineering Workforce: Addressing Missed Opportunities to Support Student Transition from a Two- to a Four-Year Institution Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26721

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