June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Minorities in Engineering
14.737.1 - 14.737.11
A unique opportunity for recruiting engineering students has developed in the Antelope Valley of Southern California (AV). While the AV refers to itself as the “Aerospace Valley”, with a high percentage of the workforce employed by Edwards Air Force Base and the major Aerospace Prime Contractors, it has had no local baccalaureate degree granting institution to support these high tech industries. A State University College of Engineering, has partnered with the City of Lancaster, the United States Air Force, and local employers to create a unique baccalaureate degree granting program in the AV. The existence of this program has created the opportunity to recruit engineering students from a high school population that is 31.7% Hispanic and 13.7% African Americani. However, to successfully recruit students from this population into engineering careers and eventual employment in the local Aerospace industry, it is necessary to change the paradigm of the local high school student population. Under the current paradigm less than 21% of high school seniors graduate ready to enter the CSU system without remediationii. Among those who are prepared to enter the CSU system, the prevailing attitude is to leave the AV permanentlyiii.
To combat these prevailing attitudes and attract students to Engineering, the local staff and professors have modified the Engineering 11 course, offered by the servicing state University for the local population. Engineering 11, titled Engineering Applications, is a course designed to introduce qualified high school students to the principles and practices of engineering during their junior or senior years of high school. The course carries three units of transferable credit. In the AV, Engineering 11 has been designed and implemented by ‘minority’ instructors with the support of a Title V grant in an attempt to recruit students from underrepresented groups into engineering. An innovative project-based format allows the students to discover the basic principles of mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering while practicing trouble shooting, leadership, and project strategy. This paper discusses the details of the course, its “lecture on demand” style of instruction, the involvement of local industry, and the demographics of the students enrolling in the class. In its second semester, the course can already claim some accomplishments in preparing students for engineering undergraduate success.
This paper offers a ‘snapshot’ of demographic information and course development for a particular college outreach and recruiting course in engineering. A snapshot isolates a detail, freezes it in time and removes it from its active context. In developing the information for this paper, it became apparent that the ‘action behind the snapshot’, its context, is important to understanding the demographics of the course. As with any piece of information that is frozen in time and isolated from its surroundings, it is the greater background story that is of equal importance to the captured image. Therefore, this paper attempts to relate not only exact information about the course developed but also the history of the community efforts that preceded the course development and resulting demographics.
Shelley, J., & Bowen, M. (2009, June), Innovation In Engineering Outreach Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5493
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