Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
Community colleges have frequently been recognized as post-secondary institutions that educate many non-traditional students. Scholars note that collegians at the nation’s two-year schools are often older, balance full-time employment with major family obligations, or are more likely than undergraduates at four-year schools to demonstrate significant financial need. Additionally, community colleges may also be ideal settings for engaging talented students from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds who intend to major in STEM disciplines. This research-based paper illuminates ways in which faculty and staff at one community college (Eastern College, a pseudonym) have supported racially and ethnically diverse engineering undergraduates at their institution. We draw on data collected from interviews with faculty and advising staff at Eastern College (EC), in which they were queried about the support structures available for engineering students across their three campuses. Results reveal that EC faculty and staff are dedicated to supporting students in their transfer aspirations, and view their school as a “transfer institution.” Data also demonstrate that EC has attracted an increasing number of engineering undergraduates, enrolling many Black collegians from the diverse county in which it is based. Findings also indicate that administrators are not only aware of the numbers of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, but are also able to point to within-group interactions and trends among undergraduates of color. For example, one professor commented on the high number of Francophone Black African undergraduates on campus, and noted an instance in which two Francophone students mentored a native (American-born) Black student. Implications include a call for four-year institutions to engage more with community colleges, in order to broaden participation among underrepresented groups in engineering. We also suggest ways in which community colleges can use their expertise on the experiences of native and international Black collegians to inform policies and programs at other types of institutions.
Berhane, B. T. (2018, April), On Becoming a "Transfer Institution": Research on a Community College that Supports Diverse Black Students in their Transfer Aspirations Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29558
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