June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
According to the National Science Foundation, 50% of Black engineering students who have received a bachelor’s and master’s degree attended a community college at some point during their academic career. However, while research highlights the importance of supporting underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities (URMs) in STEM disciplines, there is a dearth of literature focusing on URMs in community colleges who pursue engineering and other science/math-based majors. Further, Black undergraduates in community colleges are often homogenized by area of study, with little regard for their specific major/discipline. Similarly, while engineering education research has begun to focus on the population of community college students, less attention has been paid to unpacking the experiences of racial subgroups of community college attendees. The engineering student transfer process has specific aspects related to it being a selective and challenging discipline (e.g., limited enrollment policies, engineering culture shock) that warrants a closer investigation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the experiences of a small population of students who have recently transferred from several community colleges to one four-year engineering school. Specifically, we will present preliminary findings derived from interviews with approximately 15-20 Black students who started their academic careers at several community colleges in a Mid-Atlantic state, before transferring to the flagship institution of that same state. Interview transcripts will undergo a thorough analysis and will be coded to document rich themes. Multiple analyses of coded interview data will be performed by several members of the research team, as well as external evaluation members who are leading scholars in STEM and/or transfer education research. This research is part of a larger-scale, three year qualitative study, which will examine the academic trajectories of two distinct groups of Blacks in engineering majors: 1) Blacks born and educated in the United States and 2) Those born and educated in other countries. By looking at these populations distinctly, we will build upon past literature that disaggregates the experiences of Black STEM students who represent multiple identities across the African diaspora. Through this lens, we hope to highlight the impact that cultural background may have on the transfer experience. The theoretical framework guiding this study posits that the persistence of Black transfer students in engineering is a longitudinal process influenced by the intersection of both individual and institutional factors. We draw from the STEM transfer model, noting that the transfer process commences during a student’s community college education and continues through his/her transfer and enrollment in an engineering program at a four-year institution. The following factors contribute to our conceptualization of this process: pre-college background, community college prior to transfer, initial transfer to the four-year university, nearing 4-year degree completion.
Berhane, B. T., & Buenaflor, S. H., & Koonce, D. M., & Salley, C. J., & Fries-Britt, S., & Pines, D. J. (2019, June), On Transfer Student Success: Exploring the Academic Trajectories of Black Transfer Engineering Students from Community Colleges Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33143
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015