June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Women in Engineering
24.1140.1 - 24.1140.11
Summer Diversity Program enhances female and underrepresented minority student academic performance and retention in the College of EngineeringProgram OverviewOver the past three years, the College of Engineering hosted a “pre-orientation” program foraccepted incoming students. The program goal was to prepare female and underrepresentedminority freshmen for life as engineering students at the University. This program familiarizedstudents with the engineering curriculum and prepared them to succeed in their freshman year.Each morning, the students studied math and basic sciences (chemistry and physics) with thesame professors who teach freshmen courses. During the afternoon, the students participated inhands-on design and computer labs. In the evening and during the weekend, students hadrecitation sections (led by graduate students) to reinforce the daily material. Students took examsin their courses to prepare for the college testing process. They delivered an oral presentation andworked both alone and in groups. The prospective students socialized with current engineeringfaculty and students and participated in social activities to build community and explore the city.Housing, course materials, meals and events were paid for by the program corporate sponsors.Program ParticipantsAll accepted incoming women and underrepresented minority students in the College ofEngineering were invited via email to participate in the program. Students submitted anapplication and a $500 deposit, although this payment was waived for students whodemonstrated financial need. In year one (2011) 18 students participated in the program. 14 ofthese were women, and 4 were underrepresented minorities. In year two (2012) 26 studentsparticipated in the program; 14 of the participants were women, and 14 were underrepresentedminorities. In year three (2013) 22 students participated in the program; 13 of the participantswere female, and 13 were underrepresented minorities.Program OutcomesStudents completed surveys based on the National Engineering Students’ Learning OutcomesSurvey at the start and end of the program. Each year, students showed significant positiveoutcomes following the program. Problem solving and experimentation, communication, datainterpretation and organizational skills increased consistently each year.Program participants’ grade point averages (GPA) were above average. Students entering theCollege of Engineering in Fall 2011 averaged a 2.85 GPA (+/– 0.79) following their second year.2011 program participants who were still enrolled at the University at the end of year 2 had a2.97 GPA (+/- 0.49). A similar pattern holds for 2012. College of Engineering students enteringin Fall 2012 averaged a 2.9 GPA (+/– 0.76) following their first year. 2012 program participantshad a 3.05 GPA (+/– 0.63) following their first year. While these changes were not statisticallysignificant due to the small number of program participants (N=15 and 24), the trend suggeststhat program participants’ GPAs were no lower––and probably higher––than College ofEngineering students overall.Program participant retention was also higher than the average. The College of Engineeringretention rate is 78% from freshman to sophomore year and 65.3% from freshman to pre-junior(3rd) year. Program participant retention was 92% after year one and 83% after year two.In conclusion, the College of Engineering Summer Diversity Program provided incoming femaleand underrepresented minority freshmen with the academic and social foundation to help themsucceed in their engineering education.
Erickson-Ludwig, A., & Clyne, A. M. (2014, June), Summer Diversity Program Enhances Female and Underrepresented Minority Student Academic Performance and Retention in the Drexel University College of Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23073
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