June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Minorities in Engineering
In engineering education, programs designed to increase students from underrepresented groups encounter multiple challenges, particularly in the case of students from indigenous backgrounds. In the 1990s, the University of Auckland in New Zealand faced persistently low levels of recruitment, retention, and performance of engineering students from Māori tribes. To address these issues, the University created what would eventually be called the 5R Program: Readiness, Recruitment, Retention, Role Modeling, and Research, with the explicit goals of boosting numbers of students coming into and remaining enrolled in engineering, as well as increasing academic performance levels. Between 1998 and 2011, the 5R Program was highly successful, increasing both recruitment and retention, as well as boosting performance levels—to the point that academic performance among Māori engineering students surpassed the non-indigenous engineering student population. Some Māori students went on to complete master’s and Ph.D. programs in engineering.
Prior to 1998, Māori and Pasifika students experienced significant struggles in engineering education at The University of Auckland, so our research question focuses on the means by which such students within the 5R Program reached such high achievement levels, including what programmatic elements boosted their success. To explain and provide a conceptual framework for the mechanisms of inclusive excellence, we focus on a case study of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, using a published framework that includes six Engineering-for-Social-Justice (E4SJ) criteria.
Each E4SJ criterion raises critical questions that unveil different reasons why the 5R Program succeeded, and collectively the E4SJ criteria serve as a prism through which to view the 5R Program’s effective retention, recruitment, and performance strategies. The paper concludes with applicable lessons for recruitment and retention programs that focus on and can be adapted for students from multiple cultural and indigenous backgrounds as well as lessons for programs that work to foster the success of underrepresented students generally.
Leydens, J. A., & Morgan, T. K. K. B., & Lucena, J. C. (2017, June), Mechanisms by Which Indigenous Students Achieved a Sense of Belonging and Identity in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28661
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