June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Minorities in Engineering
12.1386.1 - 12.1386.11
THE ACADEMY OF COURAGEOUS MINORITY ENGINEERS: A MODEL FOR SUPPORTING MINORITY GRADUATE STUDENTS IN THE COMPLETION OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING DEGREES
Abstract: A major obstacle for minority students completing graduate degrees in science and engineering is a lack of support system. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers (ACME) – a group designed to retain and enhance the experience of minority graduate students by facilitating and supporting programming geared toward completion of graduate degrees in multiple disciplines including electrical engineering, computer science, media arts and sciences, biology, and urban studies. While support or accountability groups are not a new idea, ACME strives to make this process systematic and focused through a web-based system, ACME Online that allows members to post and track their personal goals and comment on the goals of other members. Weekly forums are held to discuss and provide constructive feedback on the content of and progress toward research goals as well as discussion topics related to graduate school success including time management, preparing for qualifying exams, and advisor-advisee relationships. In another component of ACME, monthly lunch series are held to provide a diverse and supportive environment for graduate students to present research ideas, problems, papers, or results, and receive feedback from their peers in a range of disciplines. This paper will describe the technological infrastructure, management, and responsibilities of the members of ACME as well as information directly related to student success.
The Department of Education Statistics suggests that while African-American enrollment rates in higher education continue to increase, graduation rates are comparatively low4. The quality of experience during the graduate process needs to be investigated. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago1 reports a 10% decrease in the number of black American doctorates in 2005. Black Ph.D. recipients had an average age of 36.7 (vs. 33.8 for all Americans), while taking an average of 12.7 years (vs. 10.4 years for white Americans). Furthermore, 16.2% of black American Ph.D. recipients planned postdoctoral study (vs. 22.7% of all white American Ph.D. recipients).
Programs are being established to enhance the quality of the graduate process for minority graduate students. The effects of small informal groups with underlying commonality have been documented to produce excellent results5. This is due in large part to common denominators of respect for one another’s opinions, genuine desire for members’ success, and anxiety free environments for perceived failures.
Through focus groups of minority graduate students, McAfee, et al. (2006) discovered that personal and political aspects were major determining factors that led to the success of a graduate student3. This comes in contrast to undergraduate success where academics are deemed to be the major determining factor that led to successful graduation. The ACME model of peer
Brittain, E., & Bryant, R., & Chandler, L., & Chapman, R., & Daily, S., & Hampton, M., & Mills-Henry, I., & Walcott, A. (2007, June), The Academy Of Courageous Minority Engineers: A Model For Supporting Minority Graduate Students In The Completion Of Science And Engineering Degrees Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2930
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