Asee peer logo

Solving the Engineering Pipeline Challenge

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Attracting Young Minds: Part I

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1313.1 - 22.1313.19



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Robert W. Whalin Jackson State University

visit author page

Dr. Whalin Associate Dean, Professor of Civil Engineering, and Director, Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management, College of Science, Engineering & Technology, Jackson State University. He is Director Emeritus of the Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS. He received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1971 and is a Registered Professional Engineer. Dr. Whalin was Director of Army Research Laboratory (1998 - 2003; Adelphi, MD), and Technical Director /Director of Waterways Experiment Station (1985 - 1998; Vicksburg, MS). He has authored/co-authored over a hundred technical papers and reports during his career in private industry, government and academia. His current research interests are nearshore wave transformations, coastal structures, tsunami inundation, hurricane surges, high performance computing, and engineering education.

visit author page


Qing Pang Jackson State University

visit author page

Ms Qing Pang is Research Associate in the Department of Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, College of Science, Engineering & Technology, Jackson State University. She earned her MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2000. She worked for several private companies before joining Jackson State University in 2007. Her current research interests are robotics, wireless sensor networks, signal processing, embedded software and engineering education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Topic/Session: Innovative retention and development programs for undergraduate minority engineering students Solving the Engineering Pipeline ChallengeThis paper hypothesizes a solution to the well-documented engineer pipeline challenge in theUnited States and provides preliminary data to substantiate the hypothesis.Jackson State University (JSU) initiated a School of Engineering offering BS degrees in CivilEngineering, Computer Engineering, and Telecommunications Engineering in Fall 2000,graduated the first engineers in May 2005, applied for ABET accreditation in January 2006,received notification of accreditation in September 2007 effective October 2004, and began a MSEngineering degree program in July 2004. The long established ABET accredited JSU ComputerScience Department (BS and MS in Computer Science) was transferred to School of Engineeringfrom the School of Science and Technology in August 2002.A comprehensive analysis (of School of Engineering students since 2000) was made of ACTscores (Math and Comprehensive) for enrolled students, graduates, and students attrited. Four,Five, Six, Seven and Eight year graduation rates were analyzed. The destination of BS and MSalumni was evaluated including place of employment and attendance at graduate school orprofessional school. It was discovered and documented that over 50% of our graduates haveMath ACT scores between 17 and 25, a range where the freshman student is normally enrolled ina 5 hour College Algebra and Trigonometry course. Freshmen with ACT Math scores of 26 orhigher are enrolled in Calculus I. Some of our graduates had ACT Math scores lower than 17where they begin their math sequence with an intermediate algebra class. The historical (from2000 forward) attrition rate was computed and is high for first time freshmen. To help resolvethe attrition challenge, a Summer Engineering Enrichment Program (SEEP) was initiated insummer 2009 to significantly increase retention of entering freshmen in School of Engineeringdisciplines. Almost all School of Engineering alumni are performing exceptionally well inengineering positions or in graduate or professional school.It is hypothesized that an abundant supply of potential engineers exists nationwide from thegroup of high school graduates with Math ACT scores from 17-25 and this group, relative to thetotal population of high school graduates, includes a higher percentage of African-American andHispanic minorities than the total population. Aggressive funding of SEEPs for first timefreshmen plus engineering scholarships for the more successful students should solve the UnitedStates engineer pipeline challenge within a decade. The paper includes comprehensive analysesand statistics to substantiate the graduation of high quality engineers from this population andprojects the United States investment necessary to double the output of BS engineers andcomputer scientists from US citizen high school graduates with Math ACT scores of 17-25.

Whalin, R. W., & Pang, Q. (2011, June), Solving the Engineering Pipeline Challenge Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18882

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: © 2011 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