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Partnerships Between Preprofessional Student Groups and Your Unit

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Business and Professional Literacy Within Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Joseph H. Holles University of Wyoming

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Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

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Partnerships Between Pre-professional Student Groups and Your Unit

Student pre-professional groups cover broad ranges across engineering colleges: Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Engineers without Borders (EWB), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Tau Beta Pi (τβπ), and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) (as an example of each branch of engineering). These groups serve as student support programs for a variety of different purposes that help your unit (department/college): mentoring, scholarship, service, and learning about the student’s future profession. Each of these student groups have their own separate missions, activities, leaders, and needs. For example, each group has a regional or national conference for students or a need to travel in their service role. Inevitably, each group will be visiting the department head or Dean to ask for financial support for their travel and other activities. While the department head and Dean are happy to help where they can, they might also ask “What do these student groups do for our department and college?” Can we find a way to build a better partnership between the student groups and the department/college to meet all of our needs? Can we help them? Can they help us? Can we help them help themselves?

What is the relationship between the unit and these student groups? The student groups need our financial support and advice, and we need their activities, accomplishments, and labor. Thus, building a partnership benefits both sides. Is the unit looking for content for their website and newsletters? Are prospective students looking at the website to see student activities that will entice them to apply and enroll? Do the student groups need good advising and financial resources to help them travel? Are the alumni willing to provide donations to help the students and student groups? Can we publicize their activities to help our recruiting? Can the students help the unit’s advancement campaign? These mutual needs and capabilities provide the basis for a building a strong partnership.

The partnership between these student groups and the unit to improve these support programs for the mutual benefits of both groups will be discussed. Partnerships between the units and the students can lead to: • Vigorous student groups, • Additional mentoring and recruiting avenues, • Improved and more frequent publicity for the units, • Opportunities for students to get involved, • Student leadership opportunities, • Mentoring to increase student abstract submissions to conferences (and the subsequent presentations), • Connections with the university fundraising arm for more marketing and advancement opportunities for the student groups and units, • Improved student/alumni relations, and • Opportunities for faculty to know the students and their skills which leads to more successful recommendation letters for the students.

Start looking at student groups as partners to support the unit’s mission. This partnership actively promotes the students and their groups while helping the department or college.

Holles, J. H. (2021, July), Partnerships Between Preprofessional Student Groups and Your Unit Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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