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Improving Multiple Outcomes For Minority Engineering Students: The Math Excellence Workshop At Clemson University

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.672.1 - 8.672.16

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Paper Authors

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Susan J.S. Lasser

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Ronnie Chrestman

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

Session 2793

Improving Multiple Outcomes for Minority Engineering Students: the Math Excellence Workshop at Clemson University

Matthew W. Ohland, Ronald E. Chrestman, Susan J.S. Lasser

General Engineering / Institutional Research / Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634


A longitudinal study of Black students participating in the Math Excellence Workshop at Clemson University has found statistically significant benefit to multiple outcomes. The workshop is designed after the Treisman workshop model, which has been shown previously to be beneficial for minority student development. In addition to the value of adding to the base of evidence supporting the use of this model, the result of this study is significant because of the breadth of outcomes and the length of the period studied. The study compares the performance of program participants to a control group of minority students from the same cohorts and with a similar matriculation profile in terms of age and of a predicted grade point ratio based on SAT / ACT scores, high school rank in class, and quality of high school.

Black student retention and the Treisman approach to improving it

High failure rates in introductory college mathematics courses, notably among underrepresented students, have been of concern for many years.1,2 Table 1 shows graduation rates for Black students at Clemson University and nationwide. The six-year graduation rate for Blacks in STEM majors and in any major appear fairly stable nationwide, although these data are unavailable prior to the 1992 cohort, since this was the first longitudinal study by the Center for Institutional Data Exchange and Analysis, released in the 1999–2000 SMET Retention Report.3

Table 1. Graduation rates of earlier cohorts of Black students at Clemson and nationwide Black 6-year graduation rate in STEM majors, nationwide, 1992 cohort 24 %4 Black 6-year graduation rate in any major, nationwide, 1992 cohort 40 %5

Black 6-year graduation rate in engineering, Clemson, 1984 cohort 28 % est. Black 6-year graduation rate in any major, Clemson, 1984 cohort 52 %6

The graduation rate in engineering for the Clemson 1984 cohort is estimated, as precise data could not be found. Generally, the retention rates were similar to the nationwide averages, especially in that they painted a bleak picture of Black student success.

The search for causes and solutions has led to an investigation not only of teaching methods and curricula but also of cultural issues within academia. Treisman had found that an important factor in the scholastic success of Asian American students is their comfort with the process of group Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Lasser, S. J., & Chrestman, R., & Ohland, M. (2003, June), Improving Multiple Outcomes For Minority Engineering Students: The Math Excellence Workshop At Clemson University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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