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Internal And External Challenges For Minority Engineering Programs

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.259.1 - 2.259.8



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Paper Authors

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Mary Ann McCartney

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Maria A. Reyes

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Mary Anderson-Rowland

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

Session 2570

Internal and External Challenges for Minority Engineering Programs

Mary Ann McCartney, Maria A. Reyes, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

Abstract The Office of Minority Engineering Programs (OMEP) in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) at Arizona State University (ASU) is a growing support system for underrepresented minority students and others. Nearly 500, approximately 14%, of the undergraduate students in the CEAS are underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans). During the Fall 1995 semester, the OMEP served over 300 students, including 13.5% non-minority. The OMEP is composed of a Director, Minority Engineering Program (MEP) Coordinator, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program Coordinator, an Administrative Assistant, a half-time graduate assistant, and two undergraduate part-time students, as well as student tutors and MESA liaisons. The OMEP reports to and is strongly supported by the CEAS Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Special Programs.

None the less, there are internal challenges for the survival of the OMEP. The MEP, along with the Women in Applied Science and Engineering (WISE) Program, has been asked by the University for an accounting of its program and whom they serve. The OMEP budget is continually reviewed to “prove” that the program is making a difference. Not all are convinced that colleges should be funding K-12 educational support programs such as MESA. The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) has proposed eliminating scholarship funding for minority students. The ABOR has also discussed the necessity for and legality of diversity programs during public hearings over the past two years.

The external challenges for the survival of the MEP come primarily from the national review of affirmative action policies associated with presumed preferential treatment of minority students. Perceptions that a great amount of resources are designated to only a few selective students needs close review if minority support programs are to survive. Since the CEAS works very closely with industry, the OMEP must keep pace with the changing work force needs of the future if we are to remain a competitive resource for strengthening the economy.

ASU is making progress towards increasing diversity and quality through campus wide efforts that are based on twenty recommendations made by a 1994 task force. ASU recognizes that campus diversity is needed for an educated citizenry and for international competitiveness. ASU is dedicated to developing and to supporting additional programs to improve student preparation for university success. ASU recognizes that any such programs must be outcome based and have commitment from top management. The OMEP model strongly aligns with the diversity objectives and strategies of the university.

McCartney, M. A., & Reyes, M. A., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (1997, June), Internal And External Challenges For Minority Engineering Programs Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6647

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