Asee peer logo

The Ford/University Of Detroit Mercy Engineering Opportunity Program

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1005.1 - 6.1005.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Mark Schumack

author page

Leo Hanifin

Download Paper |

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

Session 3453

The Ford/University of Detroit Mercy Engineering Opportunity Program

Leo Hanifin, Mark Schumack University of Detroit Mercy


This paper describes a unique high school/industry/university initiative to promote engineering to and recruit high school students. Participants in the program include Ford Motor Company, the University of Detroit Mercy, and 13 high schools. The program is unique for several reasons. The scale of participation is large: approximately one hundred people are directly involved in interactions with high school students. Each high school is assigned a team consisting of two or three Ford engineers, one or two high school teachers, one or two UDM faculty members, a UDM engineering student, and a UDM admissions staff member. The teams are charged with developing their own activities depending on student needs, interests, and team member expertise. Some of the more novel activities are described, including the founding of a junior National Society for Black Engineers chapter, small-scale experiments in UDM engineering laboratories, and participation in a public water-sampling project. The schools represent a diverse mix, enabling communication among communities normally isolated from one another. The high schools include public and private, suburban and urban, with some serving primarily African American and Hispanic communities. The motivation for the program was a survey of high school math and science chairpersons to gain insight into the causes of low engineering enrollments in Michigan and to develop possible solutions. An informal assessment of the program was performed by team members, and a more formal assessment process is being developed.

I. Introduction

The Gap between Engineering Graduate Supply and Demand: 1983 was the start of a twelve-year downtrend in full-time freshman engineering student enrollments in the United States. With the exception of 1988 and 1992, which saw minor increases, enrollments dropped an average of 3.3% per year and by 1994, enrollments were down 22.4% as compared to 1983. Full-time freshman engineering enrollment was at an eighteen-year low in 1994. While 1997 and 1998 saw a 6.5% and 4.4% increase respectively (with 1998 reaching a ten-year high), first year enrollments again dropped 1% in 19991,2. Since demand for engineers is strong, and in many disciplines growing, engineering enrollments today are not adequate to provide the flow of engineering graduates needed in the nation.

The reduced number of students pursuing engineering and the increase in engineering jobs, coupled with the retirement of large numbers of engineers, will cause a gap. The gap between the engineering needs

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Schumack, M., & Hanifin, L. (2001, June), The Ford/University Of Detroit Mercy Engineering Opportunity Program Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9280

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: © 2001 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