June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.627.1 - 15.627.16
GoldShirt Transitional Program: Creating Engineering Capacity and Expanding Diversity through a Performance-Enhancing Year Abstract
At our nation’s universities, too few rural, low-income, underrepresented minority and first- generation students pursue engineering degrees, and most well-prepared women show little interest. Because inadequate pre-college academic preparation is a known critical barrier to university-level engineering admission, one pathway for engineering colleges to increase their undergraduate student population diversity is to commit to boosting the performance of under- prepared high school graduates admitted under transitional status.
The Engineering GoldShirt Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder, supported by National Science Foundation funding, provides a performance-enhancing year for under- prepared students directly admitted to the engineering college. The highly-structured approach closely monitors student performance against seven goals. One goal is to increase student interest in, and knowledge of, an engineering career — supported by creating a strong community among GoldShirt students and the larger college population. Another goal is to ensure that students are prepared to academically perform in a traditional engineering program after their transitional GoldShirt year. By achieving all Program goals, we seek to create a national model for significantly boosting recruitment, retention and graduation of under-prepared students in engineering.
The Engineering GoldShirt Program enrolled its first cohort of 16 highly-motivated yet under- prepared students in fall 2009. In the pilot group, 11 represent the first-generation in their families to attend college, 13 are underrepresented minority students, and seven are female. This paper describes the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s unique approach to expanding opportunity for students from historically underrepresented groups to succeed in engineering, and shares the lessons learned thus far about recruitment, admissions, curriculum development, course placement, and student support services — all strategies suitable for adoption by other engineering colleges. This includes eye-opening admissions process changes learned through our efforts to more inclusively identify students’ potential for success, as well as other expected and unexpected pilot year outcomes.
The GoldShirt strategy described in this paper moves beyond competitive university recruitment efforts focused on the limited pool of best prepared and highly-sought-after US minority high school graduates — students who will likely join the engineering workforce regardless of what college they attend. The GoldShirt strategy aims to create engineering capacity from within the next tier of capable high school graduates. Using these multi-faceted approaches to augment the preparation of high-potential, underrepresented students, engineering colleges can more broadly serve the next generation and our nation.
The Preparation Gap
The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) is a public institution with more than 30,000 students, two-thirds of whom are Colorado residents. The College of Engineering and
Ennis, T., & Milford, J., & Myers, B., & Sullivan, J., & Sieber, D., & Knight, D., & Scarritt, A. (2010, June), Goldshirt Transitional Program: Creating Engineering Capacity And Expanding Diversity Through A Performance Enhancing Year Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15886
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