New Orleans, Louisiana
February 20, 2022
February 20, 2022
July 20, 2022
Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions
The critical task of diversifying the US engineering workforce requires action and interventions throughout the engineering education and workforce system, especially at important transition points such as university admissions. All students should have the opportunity to study engineering, but despite long-standing calls to increase the numbers of women, African-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics of any race, students from low-income families, and other traditionally underrepresented groups in undergraduate engineering education, most students are white or Asian men from upper middle-class families. Admissions policies and criteria vary across institutions, and although research has led to evidence-based changes in criteria and policies that have improved the percentage of students from underrepresented and marginalized populations in engineering, these effective practices are not widely known or adopted. These students likely experienced precollege recruitment efforts and will require support as they navigate the culture of higher education, and engineering more specifically, but acceptance into engineering schools represents a clear threshold for all engineers. Some institutions have become better at predicting student success in engineering majors based on high school performance or personal traits such as leadership skills or creativity, enabling students who would not normally be admitted to engineering programs to not only enroll but succeed. This project recognizes and promotes these effective practices and develops ideas for future research about ways to measure success in engineering education and to improve the system so that students from all backgrounds become interested, enroll, and succeed in engineering education.
With support from the National Science Foundation, INSTITUTION is engaging the community in a collaborative process that highlights and shares effective admissions practices that improve diversity in engineering education. In 2019, INSTITUTION issued a call for nominations of policies or programs that are targeted to students from underrepresented populations among incoming first-year full-time students, incoming transfer students (from community colleges or other institutions), and/or veterans or other students of nontraditional age who are entering engineering. The project defines underrepresented populations broadly, including men of color, all women, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from other underrepresented or marginalized populations (e.g., first-generation students, LGBTQI individuals, students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, students for whom English is a second language, veterans). A committee of experts named 8 of the nominated programs as exemplary; those programs were announced on the INSTITUTION website.
A virtual workshop will be held in May, 2021. In addition to presentations from the exemplary programs, the workshop will cover topics of the higher education admissions system, admissions for transfer and 3+2 programs, research on admissions, and the benefits and consequences of using artificial intelligence and data science tools in recruiting, admissions, and retention. Breakout sessions will cover questions about the system of state, institutional, and engineering school policies and how they interact to affect admissions; future research needs, and considerations about how new technologies fit into the system. The workshop agenda is designed to encourage new collaborations and networking among speakers and attendees. A workshop proceedings will be published in fall 2021 and will include narratives from the workshop conversations, descriptions of the exemplary admissions programs, and suggestions for future research on best practices in admissions policies, ways to measure success in engineering education beyond grades, the predictive validity of criteria used to admit students to undergraduate engineering programs, and ways to improve the system so that students from all backgrounds are recruited to, admitted into, and retained throughout an engineering education. An external evaluator will contact attendees immediately following the workshop and again four months later to determine the usefulness of the information presented at the workshop, new collaborations formed, and any new policies, practices, or research in development.
This workshop and proceedings will (1) provide national recognition to institutions that are effectively diversifying engineering education using admissions policies, (2) provide guidance to institutions that are developing or researching similar admissions policies, and (3) define directions for future research on both effective practices and how those practices fit into the larger system of recruiting and retaining engineering students from all backgrounds. Ultimately, the project will improve how engineering schools evaluate and accept applicants from all backgrounds and will communicate effective practices to support institutions as they diversify their engineering programs, benefiting current and future engineers as well as the broader workforce.
INSTITUTION proposes to host a panel discussion that will include representatives from institutions with new or emerging admissions policies as well as researchers in equity and inclusion who will engage in an interactive discussion with the audience. Panel topics will include the information presented in the workshop proceedings as well as new policies or practices that have emerged in the months since the workshop.
Cady, E., & Holloway, B. M., & Maldonado, T. A., & Myers, B. A., & Williams, A. B. (2022, February), Sharing Exemplary Admissions Practices that Promote Diversity in Engineering Panel Discussion Paper presented at 2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity) , New Orleans, Louisiana. https://peer.asee.org/39140
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