Asee peer logo

SETS: Lessons Learned and Best Practices of Implementing S-STEM project in the Engineering Technology Department of a Large Urban Minority Serving Public Research Intensive University

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Focus on ETAC Accreditation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Xiaojing Yuan University of Houston, College of Technology (MERGED MEMBERSHIP WITH COE)

visit author page

Dr. Xiaojing Yuan is Associate Professor in the Computer Engineering Technology program of Engineering Technology Department. She is the founder and director of the ISGRIN research lab and actively incorporating undergraduate research activities as part of final project requirements in several undergraduate junior and senior level courses dealing with sensors, instrumentation, and microprocessor hardware and software. Her research interest includes wireless sensor network, quality-of-service enhanced networking protocols, pattern recognition, and data mining.

visit author page



visit author page

Dr. Weihua Fan is an associate professor in the Department of Psychological, Health and Learning Sciences, University of Houston, Texas. She obtained her PH.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation. Her research interests are latent trait models and their applications on educational, health and psychological issues. She has published articles in Assessment, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Experimental Education, Educational Psychology and Multivariate Behavioral Research.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In this paper, the authors detail their journey implementing a S-STEM project in the Engineering Technology Department of a large urban minority serving public research intensive university. Since receiving the award on their “Succeed in Engineering Technology Scholars (SETS)” project in 2015, they gathered support from university and college as well as various student support and service divisions, and achieved great success. In this paper the authors will share the best practices to engaging students as well as student support and service division on campus and across colleges, many of them from well-acknowledged best practices in Technology and Engineering Education community, as well as lessons they learned through the process. Exceeding the project’s objective of awarding up to $5,000 scholarship to twenty promising low-income students every year, we awarded 68 students the scholarship for the first four years of the SETS program. We are able to do this partially because of the success of the leadership development component that all scholars and local industry involved appreciated. Through activities and events around the leadership development, many of the scholars were able to find internship opportunities that utilize the knowledge and skills they learned, thus enhance their learning experience and marketability. Some of the scholars secured additional scholarship opportunities from professional societies. Many of them were able to graduate within three years after they were inducted into the program because they can spend more time studying, starting and building up their professional networks, instead of working in non-STEM related position part- or full- time. Three of the scholars are pursing graduate degree in their chosen STEM program and more indicated their intention to pursue graduate degree in the near future. This phenomenon is due to the success of introducing research experience early on to our scholars so that they have a taste of research project and experience the steps involved through the trial and error process. In addition to providing scholarship for per year, the S-STEM grant allowed a team of faculty from multiple disciplines to develop and test new student support mechanisms and programs at the engineering technology (ET) programs, where such supporting and services are traditionally lacking due to its teaching oriented history and students composition – majority of the students enrolled in ET programs are non-traditional and under-represented and minority (URM) students. In addition to typical challenges facing S-STEM project implementation, including scheduling activities and opportunities for all scholars to participate, choosing mandatory activities to hold them accountable, our SETS program has to overcome several institutional and college level hurdles due to institutional-wide digital transformation and college and departmental level leadership change. In the paper, we will details the impact of the project has on students, faculty, programs, ET department, and College of Technology. We hope the findings will provide evidence based disciplinary practices within Technology and Engineering Education community.

Yuan, X., & FAN, W. (2020, June), SETS: Lessons Learned and Best Practices of Implementing S-STEM project in the Engineering Technology Department of a Large Urban Minority Serving Public Research Intensive University Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35189

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: © 2020 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