Asee peer logo

Improving engineering-student retention via the UC Davis LEADR program

Download Paper |


2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity)


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

February 20, 2022

Start Date

February 20, 2022

End Date

July 20, 2022

Conference Session

Technical Session 10 - Paper 1: Improving engineering-student retention via the UC Davis LEADR program

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ralph C. Aldredge III University of California, Davis Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Ralph Aldredge is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering, where he provides leadership and oversight for undergraduate enrollment management, orientation and yield efforts, transfer student admissions, academic advising and intervention, retention programs, the Student Start-up Center, ABET degree-program accreditation, assessment training for faculty, and strategic efforts to improve the academic experience. Prior to this administrative role, he served in various academic-senate leadership roles at the department, college, campus and system-wide levels. While serving as chair of the academic-senate committee on admissions and enrollment, he played an integral role in designing the UC Davis holistic-review freshman admissions policy implemented in 2011. He has served also as chair of the UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS, 2014-2016), which develops and recommends system-wide freshman and transfer admissions policies for approval by the UC Board of Regents.

As a professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Dr. Aldredge also performs research and advises graduate students in the areas of combustion, fluid dynamics and bio-transport, with a focus on bio-fluid dynamics (vascular blood flow) and on front propagation both in biological tissue (avascular-tumor dynamics) and in reacting gaseous mixtures (flame propagation). He has developed computational algorithms and software for simulation and analysis of flame propagation, including an iPhone/iPad application (the Level-Set app).

Dr. Aldredge received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and French at Carnegie-Mellon University and his Master’s and PhD degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at UC San Diego and Caltech prior to arriving at UC Davis to begin his teaching career.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The impact of the Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention (LEADR) Program on the retention of engineering undergraduates at UC Davis is evaluated. First-year retention rates for first-generation, female and URM program participants are found to be higher than those for their non-LEADR engineering undergraduate counterparts, while positive program impact on retention is found generally to be lacking for participants during their second and third years of study. Program enhancements to address and improve second- and third-year retention rates are discussed.

Aldredge, R. C. (2022, February), Improving engineering-student retention via the UC Davis LEADR program Paper presented at 2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity) , New Orleans, Louisiana.

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: © 2022 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