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Exploring the Excellence of HBCU Scientists and Engineers: The Development of an Alumni Success Instrument Linking Undergraduate Experiences to Graduate Pathways

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Research on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37152

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

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Trina L. Fletcher Florida International University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-1765-5957

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Dr. Fletcher is currently an Assistant Professor at Florida International University. Her research focus equity and inclusion within STEM education, STEM at HBCUs and K-12 STEM education. Prior to FIU, Dr. Fletcher served as the Director of Pre-college Programs for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Additionally, she spent time in industry holding technical and operations-based roles and has experience with outreach projects focused on STEM education and mentoring.

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Alexandra Coso Strong Florida International University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4988-361X

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As an assistant professor of engineering education at Florida International University, Dr. Alexandra Coso Strong works and teaches at the intersection of engineering education, faculty development, and complex systems design. Alexandra completed her doctorate in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. Prior to attending Georgia Tech, Alexandra received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from MIT and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia. Alexandra comes to FIU after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and three years as a faculty member at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts. Alexandra’s research aims to amplify the voices and work of students, educators, and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) overall and support continued educational innovation within engineering at these institutions. Specifically, she focuses on (1) educational and professional development of graduate students and faculty, (2) critical transitions in education and career pathways, and (3) design as central to educational and global change.

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Jay Phillip Jefferson Florida International University

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I am currently a Postdoc within SUCCEED at Florida International University. My research passions are centered at the intersections of equity in higher education, advocacy, social justice, and overall allowing for the expression of an authentic self in educational spaces in route to achieving student success.

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Jade Moten Florida International University

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Jade R. Moten is a graduate student at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Her research interests include
expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in engineering education, policy development, TRIO programs, and quality tool implementation.

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Sung Eun Park Florida International University

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Sung Eun Park has a dual background in quantitative methodology and educational psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Research, Measurement, and Evaluation at the University of Miami and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Yonsei University. Her research interests are exploring the issues in the research synthesis method and its application to the educational and psychological data set. In addition, she is interested in students' well-being and academic success in the school system.

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D'Aundray James Adams Florida International University

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My name is D'Aundray Adams. I am currently a Masters student at Florida International University majoring in Engineering Management.

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Abstract

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have made significant contributions towards ensuring Black student participation, retention, and success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and continue to play a critical role in the production of Black graduates within these disciplines. Additionally, the pedagogical approaches, principles, and values characteristic of the HBCU experience have led to tremendous gains and success in promoting Black student achievement in STEM graduate programs. The dominance of HBCUs in the preparation of Black students for graduate programs suggests a need to better understand this under-explored success case and, in particular, the practices of these institutions to support prospective Black students as they explore and apply to graduate school. Therefore, our paper details the development of a survey instrument designed to uncover success metrics of Black students who successfully completed a bachelor’s degree at an HBCU and has, since then, successfully transitioned into, or completed, a graduate degree in science or engineering. Survey development was built around the aims to 1) advance the contemporary telling of the HBCU undergraduate experience as a pillar for Black graduate success in the engineering and science fields, as well as 2) provide nuance to the complex pathways that have characterized success for these HBCU Alumni.

Our motivation is to use this instrument to further highlight these success cases not only to institutional stakeholders at HBCUs, but also to stakeholders at predominately white institutions and other minority-serving institutions who strive to increase enrollment and persistence numbers for Black students in engineering and computing. To this end, this paper will describe the survey development process, including an overview of the initial survey drafted, development of its three key sections, the pilot process, outline of the final survey instrument crafted from our pilot feedback, and the strategies and considerations implemented leading up to and during the survey deployment process. The resulting survey seeks to gather data on three major sections: (1) the dimensions of institutional climate experienced by HBCU alumni at their undergraduate institution, (2) respondent perceptions of their graduate school pathways (from preparation for and completion of graduate school)), and (3) the dimensions of institutional climate and their individual success during our respondents’ graduate school experiences.

Survey development was informed by existing research on undergraduate student support, campus culture and climate, as well as relevant theoretical frameworks regarding STEM education and identity. We also engaged in a collaborative approach, having met with a diverse field of scholars from HBCUs and MSIs dedicated to STEM education and equity, as well as experts in quantitative research. This work seeks to shed light on the areas where additional resources would secure the continued and further success of Black STEM students across a wide variety of institutions. Additionally, we aim to amplify the voices of these success cases and highlight the continued need to support HBCUs in championing Black student participation and excellence in STEM, which is vital in ensuring the future of education in our country.

Fletcher, T. L., & Strong, A. C., & Jefferson, J. P., & Moten, J., & Park, S. E., & Adams, D. J. (2021, July), Exploring the Excellence of HBCU Scientists and Engineers: The Development of an Alumni Success Instrument Linking Undergraduate Experiences to Graduate Pathways Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37152

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015