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Strategies For Success: Enhancing Minority Student Success In Science, Engineering, And Technology (Set) Professions

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering/Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1120.1 - 9.1120.8



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Paper Authors

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Farid Tranjan

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Catherine Blat

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Patricia Tolley

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Deborah Sharer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3470

Strategies for Success: Enhancing Minority Student Success in Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Professions Patricia Tolley, Catherine Blat, Deborah Sharer, Farid Tranjan University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Based on enrollment for the Fall 2003 semester, only 4% of the US citizens/permanent residents pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in the Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were African American, 0% were Native American, and less than 1% were Hispanic American. These enrollment demographics, which have remained consistent for many years, are distressing when one considers that 28% of the Charlotte population is African American1, North Carolina is home to Cherokee and Lumbee Native Americans, and most recently there has been explosive growth in the Hispanic American population in the Charlotte metropolitan area.

Over the last few years, the College has developed a recruiting plan to attract qualified and talented undergraduate students, particularly underrepresented minorities. It has also implemented several programs which, according to assessment data, are having a positive impact on undergraduate retention. These programs are especially important for underrepresented minority engineering students as the graduation rate for students of color in engineering is half that of white students and those who do leave engineering eventually drop out of college altogether.2 Therefore, the intent is to not only to retain these students through completion of their BS degrees but to also to fuel the graduate program pipeline with qualified and experienced undergraduate researchers from traditionally underrepresented populations.

Two years ago, the College implemented an innovative program called Strategies for Success (SFS), which is helping to improve retention and also bridge the undergraduate and graduate curricula for underrepresented minority students. In its first two years, 35 students have participated in the program and 60% of those who completed their BS degree successfully matriculated to graduate engineering programs. As a result of participating in SFS, students indicate a deeper appreciation of their own potential, increased technical competence, increased levels of self-confidence, self-esteem, interdependence, and a desire to pursue technical graduate degrees.


Traditionally, recruiting efforts for the Lee College have focused on undergraduate students and resources dedicated to graduate student recruiting have been, and are still, severely limited. Very little is being done to specifically recruit underrepresented minorities into graduate engineering programs. The College recognized that it could work smarter, not harder, by targeting underrepresented minority students in its own back yard. Therefore, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) pursued, and was awarded, a four-year, $544K US Congressional Appropriation to establish a unique inter-institutional partnership with Johnson C.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Tranjan, F., & Blat, C., & Tolley, P., & Sharer, D. (2004, June), Strategies For Success: Enhancing Minority Student Success In Science, Engineering, And Technology (Set) Professions Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14095

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