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Recruitment And Retention Programs For Minorities In Engineering Programs

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Recruitment and Retention

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1229.1 - 12.1229.7



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Paper Authors

author page

James Northern Prairie View A&M University

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

Recruitment and Retention Programs for Minorities in Engineering Programs


The number of minority graduates with engineering degrees has declined during the past decade in comparison to those of non-minority and international students. This decline, coupled with the continued globalization of our economic markets, bears serious implications for the economic development and prosperity of the nation. For decades, one of the top priorities for America’s higher education leaders is to get more students into college. The second priority is to graduate students that are competent in their field of study. In a recent national study, only two of five minority students who enroll in engineering programs graduate with a baccalaureate degree in engineering, as compared to two of three non-minority students. Another national study found that 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later, with even a lower percentage for Hispanics and Blacks. The barriers to minority student retention continue to be: the cost of education, isolating campus environments, a lack of peer and faculty engagement, and inadequate math and science preparation. To minimize the impact of this disturbing trend of students not pursuing an engineering degree, a priority must be set to generate student interest in the field of engineering. In this paper, we outline strategies to increase enrollment through five programs: (1) increase retention by creating a coaching and future leadership program for freshmen and sophomore students; (2) increase retention by hosting a design competition for engineering students; (3) recruit high school students into engineering programs by enhancing and expanding summer camp programs; (4) generate awareness of engineering programs through workshops for students and teachers at their respective high schools; (5) generate interest in engineering for 5th through 12th grade students by offering Lego Robotics programs in middle and high schools to be run by teachers.

From our five programs, mentoring and tutoring of students are known to improve retention. The mentoring and tutoring of students is best conducted in a form of coaching and future leadership. We illustrate a program to increase the retention rate of first and second year engineering students by providing them with academic and peer support to facilitate their transition into the College of Engineering. In addition, student recognition and academic competitions are provided as methods to increase esteem and competitive nature within students. In the area of recruitment, a method that has proven successful at some schools is the offering of engineering camps. Within these camps, students are introduced to and work with Lego Robotics in addition to preparatory skills from science, technology, engineering, and math. The use of these programs will create more opportunities to educate students about the fundamentals of engineering using innovative, fun and exciting projects.

1. HISTORICAL ENROLLMENT DATA Electrical engineering undergraduate program at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) had an enrollment of over 500 students in 1991. In 2001, our enrollment had decreased to 250 students. By 2004, our enrollment had increased to 307, however the next year we were able to maintain above 300. The programs we have in place currently to recruit and retain more students are: (1) Increase retention by continuing with the Infinity Program and by providing tutorials and

Northern, J. (2007, June), Recruitment And Retention Programs For Minorities In Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2802

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