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Recruitment & Retention Efforts in Engineering Education: A Proposed Strategy for Benchmarking

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Assessing URM Programs Targeting the K-16 Continuum

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1316.1 - 26.1316.15



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Paper Authors


Walter C. Lee Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Walter Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where he also serves as a program assistant for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. His research interests include student retention & recruitment, diversity, motivation and first-year experiences in engineering. Mr. Lee received an NSF-GRFP award in Spring 2012 focusing on how student support centers impact the experience of undergraduate engineering students, specifically women and underrepresented minorities. He received his M.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University.

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Kelly J. Cross Virginia Tech

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Ms. Cross earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 2007. She earned her Master’s of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2011. Ms. Cross is currently completing her studies in the Engineering Education PhD program at Virginia Tech and involved with multiple educational research projects with faculty and graduate students. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion, teamwork and communication skills, assessment, and identity construction.

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Andrea M. Ogilvie P.E. Virginia Tech

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Andrea M. Ogilvie, P.E. is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Andrea’s research mission is to broaden participation in STEM and her current research interests are focused on understanding the relationship between institutional policy and student pathways in engineering (i.e. access, recruitment, persistence, retention, migration, and degree completion).

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Andrea served as the Director of the Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) Program at The University of Texas at Austin for 11 years. Andrea joined UT in 2001 after six years in industry, where she had a successful career as a structural engineer for Kellogg Brown & Root and HDR Engineering, Inc.

As EOE Director, Andrea led Cockrell School of Engineering efforts to recruit and retain ethnically underrepresented students as well as students with backgrounds or experiences that contributed to the overall diversity of the School. During her term, Andrea raised more than $3.7 million in private and public grants to support the EOE program and its mission. While EOE was under her direction, UT Austin ranked as high as third in the nation in producing undergraduate engineering degrees for minority groups and the program was recognized with the 2011 NSBE ExxonMobil Impact Award and the 2012 College Board Innovator Award, Getting through College Category.

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MIND   Benchmarking Recruitment & Retention Efforts in Engineering Education: A Proposed Strategy for PractitionersAbstractIn an attempt to improve the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresentedpopulations, many colleges allocate a considerable amount of resources toward interventionsintended to attract and support prospective and current engineering students. In particular,engineering colleges offer interventions such as outreach programs for prospective engineeringstudents, summer bridge programs for transitioning engineering students, and mentoringprograms for current engineering students. The practitioners responsible for coordinating anddirecting these interventions often operate on limited budgets. Due to limits on resources, there isneed for a more effective way to share techniques and implement best practices. While theobjectives, goals, and target populations of such initiatives vary across universities, practitionerscan improve their respective efforts by benchmarking, or applying lessons learned frominnovative and effective strategies employed elsewhere. The purpose of this synthesis paper is tointegrate existing literature on benchmarking and to suggest an innovative methodology that canbe used by practitioners to facilitate the benchmarking of recruitment and retention interventionsthat target prospective and current students in engineering.In this paper, the authors conceptually applied a robust benchmarking process to a studentsupport center at a large four-year, primarily residential research university. The analysis wasused to develop the Information Sharing Cycle of Student Intervention Benchmarking.Throughout the conceptual application, we identified essential stages within the benchmarkingprocess and developed recommendations for practitioners. The paper begins with an overview ofbenchmarking and its value. Next, we report on the conceptual application of a universalbenchmarking model. Lastly, the paper concludes with recommendations for those involved inrecruitment and retention initiatives that wish to make use of the benchmarking process. Thisstudy is a first step towards developing standards for reporting on recruitment and retentionefforts in engineering education.

Lee, W. C., & Cross, K. J., & Ogilvie, A. M. (2015, June), Recruitment & Retention Efforts in Engineering Education: A Proposed Strategy for Benchmarking Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24653

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015