June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Minorities in Engineering
Astin  has suggested that a higher level of student involvement through out-of-class experiences promotes the development of better quality learning environment, an important aspect of promoting student success in engineering . Student organizations are one avenue in which students become engaged in a campus and have a variety of foci including social, professional, and disciplinary among others. Within the engineering student organizations, some specifically target the retention and success of underrepresented minorities (URMs). These URM-affiliated organizations provide a community that promotes professional development while helping to address issues of isolation and inclusion which research has shown is especially important to URM student success.
Astin  specifically outlines participation in student organizations as one of five suggested metrics to measure student involvement. At X University, the URM affiliated student organizations help positively influence the other metrics: amount of energy devoted to studying, time spent on campus, interaction with faculty, and interaction with other students with support of the Minority Engineering Program office and programming. In addition, professional and leadership skills required for future careers are developed. While URM students are the majority in these organizations, having this culturally safe environment may translate into student involvement in the broader University community.
As part of MEP’s retention efforts, we advise and support URM-affiliated engineering student organizations as one avenue to ensure the academic success of our engineering undergraduate students. To better understand the role of participation in student organizations to student academic success, we will conduct an initial, exploratory study examining the correlation between the length of time the student was a paid member in a URM-affiliated organization (1 year and 2+ years) and their persistence and rates of degree completion (4, 5, or 6 years). This data will also be compared to URM students who were not a paid member. This study will provide a more rigorous assessment of student organization impact and help provide informed recommendations for out-of-class student experiences.
References  Astin, A. “Involvement: The Cornerstone of Excellence,” Change, July/August, 1985  May, G. S., & Chubin, D. E. (2003). A retrospective on undergraduate engineering success for underrepresented minority students. Journal of Engineering Education, 92(1), 27 – 39.
Dickerson, D., & Zephirin, T. (2017, June), Exploring the Association of a Cultural Engineering Student Organization Chapter with Student Success Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28335
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