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Influential Factors Affecting The Attraction And Retention Of Minority Faculty In Engineering And Technology Programs

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Influence of Race and Culture

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.890.1 - 12.890.12



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Paper Authors


Shonda Bernadin Georgia Southern University

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Shonda L. Bernadin is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Studies in the Department of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Technology at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Bernadin received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida A&M University in 1997, her M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Florida in 1999, and her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Florida State University in 2003.

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Frank Atuahene, Ph.D

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Dr. Frank Atuahene is an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of the Construction Management Program in the Department of Construction Management and Civil Engineering Technology at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Atuahene has a B.Sc (Hon) degree from the University of Science and Technology in Ghana (1979), a Master of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Delaware (1983), a Master of Engineering degree (Industrial Engineering) from Penn State University (1994) and a Ph.D in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey (1998).

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

Influential Factors Affecting the Attraction and Retention of Minority Faculty in Engineering and Technology Programs


This paper highlights research that explores the key factors that affect the attraction and retention of minority faculty in engineering and technology programs in rural communities, in particular southern rural communities. It is well known that the pool of minority applicants, specifically black applicants, for faculty positions in engineering and technology programs is very small. Furthermore, the attraction and retention of qualified minority faculty to teach in engineering and technology programs in rural communities (that is, communities with a population of less than 30,000) is even more limited. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon, including university classification, department culture, student demographics, and geographical location. We focus on the attraction and retention problem of minority engineering faculty at a comprehensive university in a rural community in southeast Georgia. The target institution has successfully recruited and retained minority faculty members at a steady rate over the last five years. Approximately, 16% of its total faculty are minorities. These observations initiated the basis of this study. We began to question the nature of this phenomenon and ponder the unique characteristics of this university that fueled these results. Appropriate data was collected, analyzed and used to identify contributing factors that lead to the attraction and retention of minority more specifically, black Engineering and Technology faculty members at this institution. Using several data analysis techniques, we show that there is a high correlation between diversity (in terms of students, faculty and the academic learning environment) and the attraction and retention of black engineering and technology faculty members. These data indicate that the diversity model implemented at this university is successful in attracting and retaining minority faculty members. Consequently as a result of this work, similar faculty diversity models can be developed and used to increase faculty diversity at other academic institutions.


The attraction and retention problem of minority faculty members is an issue at many colleges and universities across the nation. It is obvious that to stay competitive and attract high-quality students many academic institutions must support diversity due to the challenge of producing “global citizens”1. However, increasing diversity must also incorporate a diverse faculty population that actively encourages diverse learning environments. Hence, the focus on the issue of adequately addressing the attraction and retention of qualified minority faculty members.

Many universities have adopted successful strategies for attracting minority faculty members including the use of “aggressive individualized recruiting” and attractive salaries and compensation packages2. However, some research suggests that once minorities join a faculty, the likelihood of retention decreases due to several factors including a lack of acculturation by the institution3. In essence, many minority faculty members feel a sense of value and appreciation during the initial hiring period, but over time they feel disconnected and

Bernadin, S., & Atuahene, Ph.D, F. (2007, June), Influential Factors Affecting The Attraction And Retention Of Minority Faculty In Engineering And Technology Programs Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2079

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