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Retention And Mentoring Of Underrepresented Minority Students For Electrical And Computer Engineering Programs

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Recruitment and Retention

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1047.1 - 13.1047.7



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Paper Authors

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Don Sweat Prairie View A&M University

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Teasa Northern Prairie View A&M University

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Brandon Green Prairie View A&M University

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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

Retention and Mentoring of Underrepresented Minority Students for Electrical and Computer Engineering Programs


Overcoming the four principal barriers to success: lack of preparation, cost of education, isolation on campus, and low faculty expectations, are the focus of attention for underrepresented minorities in the field of electrical and computer engineering. This paper describes the efforts and results of a plan for actively retaining minorities and women students in undergraduate computer engineering programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). It also describes a series of activities aimed at producing leaders for tomorrow in industry and academia. Such programs for the retention of women and minorities are critical to the country’s efforts to increase the number of engineering professionals, and are a priority at larger institutions and HBCUs.


For decades, one of the top priorities for America’s higher education leaders has been to raise the number of students enrolling in college [1,2,3]. The second priority has been to graduate students that are competent in their field of study. These priorities are of particular importance in the field of Engineering. The number of engineering degrees has declined during the past decade [4]. This decline, coupled with the continued globalization of our economic markets, bears serious implications for the economic development and prosperity of the nation. The national decline in engineering degrees has been greater for minorities. 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 [5]. Another national study found that 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later, with an even lower percentage for Hispanics and Blacks6. To minimize the impact of this disturbing trend, a priority must be set to establish a strong academic foundation for students pursuing an education in the field of engineering.

In an effort to address these issues, The College of Engineering at Prairie View A&M University, has established the Academic Enhancement and Enrichment (AEE) Program. The mission of the AEE Program is to offer services that will advance student independence and self- reliance within the College of Engineering community. The AEE Program promotes and enhances students' academic skills through individual and drop-in tutoring, study groups, workshops, and special sessions designed to develop and expand professional skills.

Major Goals

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering curriculum is structured to provide each student with a sound background in the basic and engineering sciences and a thorough foundation in Electrical Engineering for the analysis and design of electrical and electronic circuits and systems. The curriculum provides courses necessary for technical competencies as

Sweat, D., & Northern, T., & Green, B., & Northern, J. (2008, June), Retention And Mentoring Of Underrepresented Minority Students For Electrical And Computer Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4310

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