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Preparing Future Minority Faculty for the Professoriate (Experience)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors


A. Ayanna Boyd-Williams North Carolina A&T State University

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A. Ayanna Boyd-Williams currently serves as the Assistant Dean of the Graduate College at North Carolina A&T State University and has over twenty-eight years experience in graduate education. Prior to coming to NC A&T, she was Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of Minority Programs at Duke University, Director of Minority Affairs and Special Projects and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University. She also served as the Director of Educational Opportunity Program at Ithaca College.

Boyd-Williams has been an active leader in the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minorities and women; the development and assessment of co-curricular activities related to professional development core competencies; and preparing future faculty. She serves on the Board of the National Consortium For Graduate Degrees For Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM) as a university representative.

Boyd-Williams received her BS degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and MS Degree in Educational Administration from Cornell University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. degree in leadership studies at North Carolina A&T State University. Her research interests include multi-criteria decision making, intellectual sustainability in higher education, corporate social responsibility and ethics, and East Asian higher education systems. She has presented numerous workshops on issues related to minority affairs, graduate admissions and funding opportunities, intellectual capital management and investment, core professional development competencies, and graduate research and teaching assistant training and assessment.

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Shea Bigsby North Carolina A&T State University

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Dr. Shea Bigsby is the Coordinator of Graduate Writing Services in the Graduate College at North Carolina A&T State University. In this position, he develops resources and conducts workshops to help graduate students improve their writing skills and complete thesis/dissertation formatting and submission requirements. He also develops programming, presentations, and web materials to support numerous initiatives related to graduate student professional development, graduate assistant training, and other enrolled student services.

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Clay Gloster Jr North Carolina A&T State University

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Dr. Clay Gloster, Jr. currently serves as the Interim Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Programs and Extended Learning, and Dean of the Graduate College at North Carolina A&T State University. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University (’85,’88) and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University (‘93). He has also been employed by IBM, the Department of Defense, the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Howard University.

Dr. Gloster has served on the program committee for several international conferences and received best paper and presentation awards. He has received numerous fellowships and distinguished awards, including his selection to the Becoming a Provost Academy sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Under his leadership, two new programs (BS in Computer Engineering and BS in Information Technology) were started as strategic initiatives to increase enrollment and national ranking. Dr. Gloster holds two US patents.

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Evelyn Sowells-Boone North Carolina A&T State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Evelyn R. Sowells is an assistant professor in the Computer Systems Technology department at North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Technology. Prior to joining the School of Technology faculty, she held position at U.S. Department of Energy, N.C. A&T’s Division of Research and College of Engineering. Dr. Sowells earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University’s College of Engineering. She also holds a M.S. and B.S in Computer Science with a concentration in software engineering from the same university. Her primary research interests are in the areas of efficient digital systems design and STEM education. As a result of her work, she has numerous peer reviewed journal and conference publications. She recently authored a book entitled “Low Power Self-Timed Size Optimization for an Input Data Distribution,” which explores innovative techniques to reduce power consumption for portable electronic devices. She was recently awarded the 2016 Chair’s award for Rookie Researcher of the year in the Computer System Technology department. Dr. Sowells is the lead investigator of the Females in Technology (FiT) summer boot camp grant project for academically gifted low income rising senior and junior high girls for recruitment into the technology degree areas. She is also the co-PI of the Aggie STEM Minority Male Maker grant project focused on early exposure to technology to stimulate interest in technology of middle school minority males. Evelyn is not only outstanding in teaching and research, but also in service. She recently received the 2013 Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service in the Department of Computer System Technology and is a member of Upsilon Phi Epsilon, Computer Science Honor Society, American Society of Engineering Education’s Electronic Technology and Women in Engineering Divisions, and American Association of University Women.

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Mark A. Melton Saint Augustine's University

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Dr. Mark A. Melton is a professor of biology and currently serves as dean for the School of Sciences, Mathematics and Public Health at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. In that role, he has gained valuable insights regarding the landscape, culture and demands of management at the college and university level. He has served in a number of administrative capacities including Department Chair of Biological & Physical Sciences, Honors Program Director, and as Program Director for the NIH-MARC U*STAR Program, a federally funded student research training program. His leadership includes advancing the educational and research capacity at the school. He strives to be a positive ‘Change Agent’ as the university continues to forge ahead in its efforts to produce some of the best and brightest scholars. He was recently promoted from associate professor to professor.

Dr. Melton has served as principal investigator and/or director of a number of grants secured from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Education (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) totaling more than $10 million. Dr. Melton has served on many NIH and NSF grant proposal review panels for a variety of programs within each agency. In that capacity, he has gained experience and expertise in the management, assessment and evaluation of documentation required for major grants, annual reports, etc. These experiences and qualifications in the areas of proposal writing, proposal writing workshop presentations, service on panel review panels, successful grant writing, and grant implementation and evaluation led Dr. Melton to establish the Melton Consultants & Investments, L.L.C.

Since its establishment in mid-2014, Melton Consultants & Investments, L.L.C. has served as External Evaluator on numerous funded projects for federal agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. The evaluation team includes professors in STEM disciplines and in the social sciences that have extensive evaluation experience. Additionally, Dr. Melton has conducted workshops on competitive grant writing and the importance of external evaluation at academic institutions in the US and Antigua.

Dr. Melton has authored papers in the areas of developmental biology, neurobiology (Alzheimer’s) and molecular developmental genetics. He is particularly fond of the book chapter he co-authored titled “Closing the Gap: An NSF-Funded Multi-Faceted Mentoring Approach to Reducing the Barriers to Academic Success for Underrepresented STEM Majors.” He recently secured a research grant from the NSF to conduct research in the field of gene regulation during development in Drosophila melanogaster in his newly established Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at SAU.

Dr. Melton received his B.A. degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the M.S. degree in developmental biology from North Carolina A&T State University and the Ph.D. in developmental neurophysiology from the University of Maryland at College Park. He also conducted postdoctoral research in molecular genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine.

Dr. Melton is a member of the American Evaluators Association, Society for Neuroscience, Genetics Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi and Beta Kappa Chi.

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The NSF-funded Preparing Future Minority Faculty (PFMF) project is designed to increase the number of graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows from underrepresented groups that ultimately become leading professors in engineering, engineering technology, and the sciences at institutions of higher education. The PFMF project seeks to improve minority faculty success by providing mentorship, extensive training in best practices, and actual experiences in teaching, research, and service. A key focus of the project is to present an integrated view of the roles of a professional academic career through activities including, but not limited, to: 1) seminars and hands-on workshops on development of professional credentials, time management, negotiating a contract, and long range career planning, 2) mentorship by a tenured professor, 3) workshops on designing courses, teaching techniques, conflict resolution, grading homework, authoring effective examinations, student advising, etc., 4) teaching experiences in one or more courses in STEM subjects at the university, and 5) an annual 1-day symposium that includes various sessions to prepare fellows for the professoriate. Furthermore, the PFMF team has worked to build an effective network of resources, contributors, and affiliate organizations and institutions with the collective goal of preparing minority students for faculty careers. In order to assess the level of academic career professional development engagement by our fellows, pre-program and pre- & post-symposium surveys were administered to participants in the PFMF program. Our surveys explore participant attitudes and experiences at different points in the training process. The surveys also provide invaluable information about common obstacles to minority career development and opportunities for significant impact. Our results thus far have been more than promising. This paper highlights the logic models, effective strategies, training materials, survey results, and findings from year one of the three-year project. In our discussion of the PFMF program, we provide broader insights into the process of training and mentoring minority students to prepare them for successful careers as faculty members.

Boyd-Williams, A. A., & Bigsby, S., & Gloster, C., & Sowells-Boone, E., & Melton, M. A. (2019, June), Preparing Future Minority Faculty for the Professoriate (Experience) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33191

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