June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Minorities in Engineering
11.996.1 - 11.996.6
Planning for Diversity at All Levels
In the spring 2005 semester our institution undertook a college wide strategic planning process to address diversity at all levels of the college. A committee of faculty, students, and staff looked at the institution’s current status for women and minorities at all levels. Included in this study were students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, and advisory boards. In part, this process was to determine our current status with respect to our peer institutions in the participation of women and minorities at each level. This process also involved research on best practices from other institutions to determine which of these practices might be applicable to our institution. This paper will present the findings of this study, the goals developed by this institution, and the strategies that are being put in place to address these goals.
With the hiring of a new dean of engineering in January 2005, the Bagley College of Engineering undertook a strategic planning process for all aspects of the college. Of particular interest and focus was the issue of diversity in the college at all levels. Part of the strategic planning process involved developing strategies to help move the college forward in this area. Because of the geographic location of Mississippi State University, the college chose to focus its minority diversity efforts on African-American students. Part of this strategy is a recognition that efforts which can help recruit and retain African-American students will also help in the recruitment and retention of other minority groups as well. In addition, our geographic location in a state where 36.3%2 of the population is African-American and the fact that we are a public institution drove us to consider this population since the mission of our institution is to serve the citizens of our own state.
The Initial Data
Not surprisingly, the participation of women varies significantly across the different disciplines within the college. The percentage of women undergraduate students ranged from 6.6% (mechanical) to 45.5%(biological). Three programs – chemical engineering, biological engineering, and industrial engineering – have a significant percentage of women in the program. Overall, our college of engineering has 17.57% women at the undergraduate level, compared to 17.68% nationally1.
The participation of minority students also varies between programs in the college. However, this variance is much smaller than that for women with the participation rates varying from 5.1% (civil) to 22.6% (industrial). Overall for the college, the percentage of African-American students at the undergraduate level was 11.25%. This compares with a national average of 6.04%1. However, the percentage of African-American students for Mississippi State University as a whole is 19% and climbing, whereas the percentage in the college has been dropping for the
Stevenson, T., & Reese, D. (2006, June), Planning For Diversity At All Levels Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/314
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