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Surviving Against All Odds

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.380.1 - 2.380.5



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Paper Authors

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Saundra D. Johnson

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

Session 2570

Surviving Against All Odds

Saundra D. Johnson, Director, Minority Engineering Program The Pennsylvania State University


With the political questioning and evaluation of affirmative action, programs funded by state and federal dollars are under constant scrutiny. Programs supporting underrepresented minorities are, unfortunately, frequent targets for cutbacks. In the eyes of some universities which sponsor pre- college, undergraduate, and/or graduate programs for underrepresented minorities, it is only a matter of time before court decisions in California and Texas greatly impact recruitment and retention activities. As a consequence, a pipeline of talented individuals with dreams that contribute to the global competitiveness of today’s society will be lost. To ensure the continuance of programs that enhance the growth of the pipeline, it is necessary to rise above the pressure of cutbacks by maintaining a proactive approach. The Minority Engineering Program (MEP) at Penn State has this goal.


Forces that adversely affect badly needed programs are both internal and external to the Penn State University setting. Neither can be described as the lesser of two evils, as both internal and external forces have the potential to mitigate the success of the Minority Engineering Program.

Currently the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) at Penn State operates within three stages that prove to be effective in responding to these challenges:

I. The Informative Stage II. The Outreach Stage III. The Collaboration Stage

The Informative Stage begins with heightening the awareness of the goals reflected in the College of Engineering Strategic Plan1 to faculty, staff and students. The College of Engineering’s Strategic Plan, which includes diversity initiatives, is submitted every five years. Also, a progress report is submitted on an annual basis.

In the College of Engineering Strategic Plan five strategic initiatives are identified that will develop a faculty, staff and student body of increasing capability and will strengthen the education and research programs:

1. Attract and develop an outstanding and diverse faculty, student body and staff.

Johnson, S. D. (1997, June), Surviving Against All Odds Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6806

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