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Ieee’s Rwep Program To Recruit And Retain First Year Students In Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering And Computer Science

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD1 - Early Success and Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

13.683.1 - 13.683.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3533

Download Count

43

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Paper Authors

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Amy Bell Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Amy E. Bell served as Chair of the Public Awareness Committee of IEEE’s Educational Activities Board and Director of the IEEE RWEP program from 2006-2007. She is also an Associate Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech.

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Moshe Kam Drexel University

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Dr. Moshe Kam served as Vice President of IEEE’s Educational Activities Board from 2005-2007. He is also Department Head and Robert G. Quinn Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Drexel University.

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Joan Carletta University of Akron

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Dr. Joan E. Carletta is currently serving as Chair of the Public Awareness Committee of IEEE’s Educational Activities Board and Director of the IEEE RWEP program. She is also an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Akron.

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Douglas Gorham IEEE

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Dr. Douglas Gorham is the Managing Director of IEEE’s Educational Activities Department.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

IEEE’s RWEP Program to Recruit and Retain First Year Students in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science

Abstract

U.S. enrollment in undergraduate programs in electrical engineering (EE), computer engineering (CE) and computer science (CS) has declined significantly in recent years. Women remain under-represented in undergraduate EE, CE and CS programs—recently, they comprise an even smaller proportion of the overall shrinking enrollment. EE, CE and CS are the three primary fields of interest to the IEEE. IEEE is an international organization with nearly 370,000 members world-wide. In 2007, IEEE launched the Real World Engineering Projects (RWEP) program aimed at recruiting and retaining undergraduate students in EE, CE and CS programs. The RWEP program is a competitive, peer-reviewed award process that solicits hands-on, team- based, first-year projects that focus on real-world problems whose solutions benefit society. IEEE disseminates these projects to faculty worldwide for their use in the classroom. These projects make EE/CE/CS significantly more exciting and relevant to first year students and illustrate how the work of professionals impacts society. IEEE expects that the RWEP program will help realize increased student enrollment and retention in EE/CE/CS undergraduate programs—with an even greater impact on students from under-represented groups. Preliminary results support this hypothesis.

Background and Motivation

U.S. enrollment in undergraduate programs in electrical engineering (EE), computer engineering (CE) and computer science (CS) has exhibited a significant decline in recent years. From 2001 to 2006, enrollment in undergraduate CS programs dropped 20% from 33,695 to 27,062 full-time students1. From 2001 to 2006, enrollment in undergraduate EE and CE programs dropped 27% from 102,943 to 75,302 full-time students1. EE, CE and CS are the three primary fields of interest to the IEEE. IEEE is an international organization with nearly 370,000 members world- wide2.

In addition to the overall declining enrollment, women remain significantly under-represented in undergraduate EE, CE and CS programs. Moreover, their small representation has recently eroded further. In 2006, women earned only: 14.2% of the EE bachelor’s degrees (down from 14.8% in 2002); 11.2% of the CE bachelor’s degrees (down from 12.8% in 2002); and, 13.7% of the CS bachelor’s degrees (down from 17.9% in 2002) 1,3.

In 2007, IEEE launched a $400,000 program aimed at recruiting and retaining undergraduate students in EE, CE and CS programs. The IEEE Real World Engineering Projects (RWEP) program is a competitive, peer-reviewed award process that solicits hands-on, team-based, first- year projects that focus on real-world problems whose solutions benefit society4. For example, a potential signal processing project might have the students implement arrhythmia detection algorithms and discover how computational complexity affects the real-time constraint that is

Bell, A., & Kam, M., & Carletta, J., & Gorham, D. (2008, June), Ieee’s Rwep Program To Recruit And Retain First Year Students In Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering And Computer Science Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3533

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