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Minority Serving Institutions: America's Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce Report – Implications for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Trina L. Fletcher Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Fletcher is currently an Assistant Professor at Florida International University. Her research focus includes people of color and women in STEM and quality in K-12 and higher education. Prior to FIU, Dr. Fletcher served as the Senior Manager for the Summer Engineering Experience of Kids (SEEK) program and the Director of Pre-college Programs for NSBE. Additionally, she spent time in industry holding technical and operations-based roles and has experience with outreach projects focused on STEM education and mentoring.

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Tina L. Fletcher University of Pennsylvania

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Tina L. Fletcher holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African American Studies from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s degree in Secondary Teacher Education from Harvard University. She served as a U.S. Government teacher at Anacostia Senior High School in Washington, D.C. where she was named the 2010 Teacher of the Year. She then served as a fundraiser and successfully raised over $20 million for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in addition to raising over $300 thousand for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on behalf of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. She has interned with the Southern Education Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus on behalf of former U.S. Senator Blanche L. Lincoln and in the Office of the First Lady Michelle Obama. Tina has been named a Rising Political Leader by EmPower Magazine, a Visionary Arkansan by the Arkansas Times and received the Brown Girls Rock award for her work in the field of education. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania where she studies education policy. To learn more, visit

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Janelle L. Williams Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

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Janelle L. Williams is the Assistant Director for Health Policy at The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and a Visiting Scholar at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Cheyney University Foundation.

As a researcher and practitioner, Janelle is passionate, collaborative, and innovative. Her scholarship investigates college choice at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the intersectionality of race and college selection, culturally inclusive approaches to address challenges facing HBCU enrollment, and HBCU advocacy in the higher education landscape through qualitative inquiry. Her most recent work explores the factors that influence the enrollment of Black undergraduates who chose to attend HBCUs and has been published in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, MSIs Unplugged, and The HBCU Times. In addition, Janelle has been an invited panelist and presenter discussing topics relating to her research at national and international conferences including HICE, ICUE, and NACADA.

A first-generation college student, Janelle is a graduate of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, America’s oldest HBCU. She continued her education at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). While at Penn State, she earned a M.P.A in Public Policy and Administration, a certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management and was certified as a Diversity Relations liaison. In addition, Janelle obtained a M.Ed. in Student Affairs Leadership from Widener University. Coupling her interest in social justice, education and policy, Janelle earned an Ed.D. from Widener University in Higher Education Administration and Policy.

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Brianna Benedict McIntyre Purdue University

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Brianna Benedict is a Graduate Research Assistant in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She completed her Bachelor's and Master's of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Her research interest focuses on interdisciplinary students' identity development, belongingness in engineering, and recognition.

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Brittany Nicole Boyd Morgan State University Orcid 16x16

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Kevrick Watkins

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In 2018, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a report entitled, Minority Serving Institutions: America’s Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce. The report highlighted the various academic, economic, and social benefits linked to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and spotlighted their impact on their respective institutional and community stakeholders. The report affirmed that MSIs have not been adequately researched or utilized to increase future research and that MSIs should be prioritized. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), one of two MSI types that are historically and culturally defined, were researched and analyzed as a part of the report. Defined by federal law (20 USC § 1061) an HBCU is a “college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans.”

While only accounting for 3% of all post-secondary institutions in the U.S., HBCUs graduate 17% of all Black students. Within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), 40% of Black students pursuing graduate degrees attended HBCUs for undergraduate study. Between 2002 and 2011, HBCUs saw year-over-year increases for the number of Blacks who went on to successfully complete doctorate degrees in science and engineering, with top producers from North Carolina A&T University, Florida A&M University, and Morgan State University. This is particularly important when considering that of the 631 ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited institutions only 15 are HBCUs as of 2016.

Prior research and statistics have documented the significant role HBCUs play in the production of Black engineers; however, this report emphatically states that these institutions are not utilized at the level necessary for the U.S. to stay competitive within the STEM workforce. Therefore, this current study consists of a rigorous document analysis to summarize information from the report that is directly and/or indirectly connected to engineering education at HBCUs including, but not limited to, background of authors, the institutional selection process, review of literature cited, and recommendations. Results found that First, there is a need for increased efforts to advance and expand quantitative research related to the role of HBCUs in graduating Black engineers including dual engineering programs with PWIs. Second, an analysis of research and practice-based funding allocations for engineering at HBCUs should be conducted.

Fletcher, T. L., & Fletcher, T. L., & Williams, J. L., & McIntyre, B. B., & Boyd, B. N., & Watkins, K. (2019, June), Minority Serving Institutions: America's Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce Report – Implications for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33114

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