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Promoting Diversity In Graduate Engineering Education: The Student Perspective

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.991.1 - 14.991.6



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Paper Authors

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Eugene DeLoatch Morgan State University

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Lueny Morell Hewlett-Packard

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Sherra Kerns Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Carla Purdy University of Cincinnati

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Paige Smith University of Maryland

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Samuel Truesdale Rolls-Royce Corporation

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Promoting Diversity in Graduate Engineering Education: The Student Perspective Abstract

In this presentation we continue a several-year focus on effective methods for encouraging greater diversity in graduate engineering education. As was the case when we began our discussions in 2004, the percentages of women and minorities earning engineering graduate degrees still lag behind the percentages earning bachelor's degrees. In our discussions we have looked at reasons why this continues to be so and we have also examined policies and activities which can help to increase diversity. Here we focus specifically on how students themselves rate the effectiveness of diversity initiatives in graduate engineering programs and on what additional strategies they would recommend to attract a more diverse group of students to continue their engineering studies beyond the bachelor's degree. We also describe some student initiatives designed to encourage graduate study and to support graduate students.


This presentation continues a discussion begun in 2004 on the specific problems of increasing diversity in graduate education. 1,2,3,4,5. This presentation supplements a 2009 ASEE Conference panel session on diversity cosponsored by the Corporate Members Council, Women in Engineering, Minorities in Engineering, and the Graduate Studies Division. Previous discussions in this series focused on:

≠ showcasing exemplary programs for graduate students and for encouraging undergraduates to choose graduate study (at Arizona State University, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, University of Washington, Mercer University, and University of South Florida)

≠ defining underlying issues affecting diversity at the graduate level

≠ articulating a holistic approach for dealing with the issues identified

≠ achieving a multilayered approach to encouraging diversity, with modifications for environments which can provide different levels of support

≠ reviewing the literature on diversity in graduate education and describing, for each group of stakeholders in the process of graduate education, policies and activities that have been presented in the literature and that have emerged during our discussions that can help to overcome some of these obstacles.

In the 2009 discussion we turn our attention to the students who have been targeted by these programs. As noted in our 2004 discussion1, while there has been an increase in the percentage of women earning masters' degrees in engineering, the percentages of students

DeLoatch, E., & Morell, L., & Kerns, S., & Purdy, C., & Smith, P., & Truesdale, S. (2009, June), Promoting Diversity In Graduate Engineering Education: The Student Perspective Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5726

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