June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.706.1 - 13.706.12
Implementing a Multi-faceted Approach for Promoting Diversity in Graduate Engineering Education
For the past several years, we have, through panel discussions and presentations, been engaged in exploring how to encourage diversity in graduate engineering education. While the percentages of women and minorities earning engineering graduate degrees are increasing, they still (except for women at the masters' level) lag behind the percentages earning bachelor's degrees. A diverse graduate population is important because engineers with graduate training will be at the forefront of leadership and change, in both academia and industry, as we confront the many ways in which we will need to make creative use of technology in the coming years. Participants in these discussions have included university faculty and staff and industry representatives. Our discussions have clarified some of the obstacles to diversifying the graduate population, including lack of mentoring and constructive advice, lack of a community for graduate students at a particular institution, and unwritten rules and assumptions which can affect graduate student admission and overall success. In this presentation we review the literature on diversity in graduate education and we describe, for each group of stakeholders in the process of graduate education, policies and activities that have been presented in the literature and that have emerged during our discussions that can help to overcome some of these obstacles. We discuss initiatives that can be carried out effectively by individuals or small groups, initiatives that can be supported by industry and by other groups external to the university, and initiatives that require institutional support. Not surprisingly, successful projects draw support from several of these groups. Major stakeholders who can affect graduate education at an individual institution include individual graduate students, student organizations, and supportive corporate sponsors. Major stakeholders who could help with institutionalization include not only university and college administrators and engineering faculty but also government and nongovernmental organizations, as well as corporate sponsors. Our goal in this session is to offer specific examples of successful initiatives and to begin to develop resources for others interested in encouraging diversity at the graduate level. Over the next year we will continue to collect information about exemplary programs, projects, and activities that facilitate increased diversity in graduate engineering education. Information on these initiatives will be maintained on the Graduate Studies Division web page, along with the papers which have appeared in this series of panel sessions and a summary of best practices.
While many excellent programs exist for increasing diversity among precollege and undergraduate students and among faculty, programs targeting graduate students have received less attention. While some programs designed specifically for students at the graduate level have been established, many others exist as add-ons, either to faculty development programs or as extensions of programs for undergraduate students. There are several reasons why encouraging diversity at the graduate level is more difficult. As noted previously in our discussions on this subject1,2,3,4, graduate student programs tend to be administered by individual departments rather than by central offices, and individual students may be recruited into specific laboratories.
DeLoatch, E., & Kerns, S., & Morell, L., & Purdy, C., & Smith, P., & Truesdale, S. (2008, June), Implementing A Multi Faceted Approach For Promoting Diversity In Graduate Engineering Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3758
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