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The MEP Census: Characterizing Essential Programmatic and Intrastructural Elements of Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) Nationwide

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33406

Download Count

5

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Paper Authors

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Jenni Buckley University of Delaware

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Dr. Buckley is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor’s of Engineering (2001) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, and her MS (2004) and PhD (2006) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on computational and experimental methods in spinal biomechanics. Since 2006, her research efforts have focused on the development and mechanical evaluation of medical and rehabilitation devices, particularly orthopaedic, neurosurgical, and pediatric devices. She teaches courses in design, biomechanics, and mechanics at University of Delaware and is heavily involved in K12 engineering education efforts at the local, state, and national levels.

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Marcos Miranda Ohio State University

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Amy Trauth University of Delaware Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5146-592X

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Amy Trauth, Ph.D., is the Senior Associate Director of Science Education at the University of Delaware's Professional Development Center for Educators. In her role, Amy works collaboratively with K-12 science and engineering teachers to develop and implement standards-based curricula and assessments. She also provides mentoring and coaching and co-teaching support to K-12 teachers across the entire trajectory of the profession. Her research focuses on teacher education, classroom assessment, and P-16 environmental and engineering education.

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Marianne T. Johnson University of Delaware

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Michael L. Vaughan University of Delaware

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Dr. Michael L. Vaughan is Associate Dean and faculty member at the University of Delaware, College of Engineering. In this role, he is responsible for the College of Engineering academic affairs enterprise. Dr. Vaughan manages the College of Engineering academic and educational support processes by developing and implementing policies, programs and interconnections to enhance the College ability to foster successful outcomes. Dr. Vaughan is a member of the College leadership team. The College current has over 2400 undergraduate and over 850 graduate students.

For many years, he has served as the Campus Principal Investigator of the NSF funded Greater Philadelphia Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program and the NSF/AMP Bridges to the Doctorate Program, which focus on the success of students traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In addition, Dean Vaughan is the former Program Director/PI of the EAA/UD Graduate Preparatory Summer Residential Program funded by the Educational Advancement Alliance (EAA). The program includes up to 40 participants, rising juniors or seniors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), who have interest in pursuing STEM disciplines at the graduate-level. Annually, Dean Vaughan supervises direction of the 4-week FAME/UD Summer Residential Program for 30-35 high school students, the RISE Summer Enrichment Program for incoming engineering freshmen and, in the past, the HEARD (Higher Education Awareness Response in Delaware) Project, a college awareness program, funded by the Department of Education through Philadelphia GEAR UP for College Network. Globally in the College, he manages academic programs and policies that impact the careers of all engineering students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Dean Vaughan is focused on enhancing the College’s student/faculty interface by fostering successful academic and professional outcomes in an increasingly multi-cultural and diverse engineering environment.

Off campus, he is or has been a member of various professional associations and currently sits on numerous boards and committees that focus on engineering education and issues that positively impact the lives of young people. Dean Vaughan served on the National Executive Committee of the GEM Consortium in Alexandria VA which funds graduate degrees in Engineering and Science. Dean Vaughan is a former President and former Treasurer of the Board of the GEM Corporation and past Chairman of the National GEM Investment Committee. Dean Vaughan was former Vice President of the board of directors and Operations Committee Chair of the National Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) based in Alexandria, Va. The JETS organization was a leading nonprofit educational enterprise dedicated to promoting engineering and technology careers to America's youth. Of the more than 40,000 students JETS served each year, 53 percent were from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering and technology and 36 percent of participants were female. Dean Vaughan is a longstanding member of the President’s Advisory Committee of the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council which encompasses girl scouting activities in all of the Delmarva Peninsula which includes Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. In addition, he is a former Board President of Delaware Futures of Wilmington, DE an organization which provides educational, social, and motivational support to high school students with unrealized potential to become successful college applicants. Dean Vaughan is also the convener and member of the External Advisory Board of HBCU-UP SMILE Project at Delaware State University which reports to the institution’s president.

Dr. Vaughan received both his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware.

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Tasha Zephirin Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Tasha Zephirin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She is an Executive Assistant for the National Association of Multicultural Program Advocates (NAMEPA) Inc. and has served as the Graduate Student Representative on the Purdue Engineering Advisory Council. Her research interests include exploring the role of noncurricular engineering education initiatives in the engineering experience, especially within and across cultural boundaries. Through this research, she aims to inform the development and evaluation of these initiatives in a variety of contexts.

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Darryl Dickerson Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Darryl A. Dickerson, PhD serves as Associate Director of the Minority Engineering Program at Purdue University and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Regenerative Technologies. He received his PhD in 2009 from the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering where his research focused on the development of naturally-derived biomaterials specifically for the regeneration of interfaces between hard and soft tissues. Subsequently, he founded BioRegeneration Technologies to translate the benchtop work performed during his graduate studies to clinical practice. During his time as a graduate student, Dr. Dickerson gained significant management and leadership experience as a member of the Board of Directors (2004 – 2009) of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). His work with NSBE culminated in his service as President, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer and the launch of the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program in 2007 – 2008. In 2012, he joined the staff of the Minority Engineering Program at Purdue and has since taken on the role of Associate Director. In this capacity, he manages the staff members in executing programming designed to transform the College of Engineering into a more diverse and inclusive environment by increasing enrollment, retention, and success of underrepresented minority students in engineering.

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Rachel A. Davidson University of Delaware Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6061-5985

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Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Associate Dean for Diversity, College of Engineering
Core Faculty Member, Disaster Research Center
University of Delaware Newark, DE

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Abstract

While students of color are broadly underrepresented in higher education, the issue is particularly acute in undergraduate engineering programs, where historically underrepresented students (URM, def: non-white, non-Asian) compose approximately 12-16% of the student body (1). Lack of diversity limits the talent base and creative capital of the entire engineering profession (2). For this reason, institutions have been investing in minority engineering programs (MEPs) within their undergraduate engineering colleges (3,4). MEPs serve as umbrella organizations that offer financial, academic, and social support, with overarching objectives of improving representation and retention of URM undergraduate students in engineering programs (3-7). While MEPs are networked through professional organizations, such as the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA), student organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and funding efforts like the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), MEPs operate independently of each other across institutions, with each having its own origins, unique programmatic offerings, and financial and administrative support structures.

Although programmatic elements and administrative infrastructure may vary by institution, there is no question that MEPs in general are effective in URM student retention and success (4-13). A recent whitepaper produced by NSBE (4) studied four top-ranked MEP programs and recommended nine interventions for institutions to boost minority enrollment and retention. Six of the nine interventions traditionally fall in the purview of MEPs, namely, summer bridge programs, living-learning communities, facilitated study groups, scholarships, and positive development of self-efficacy and engineering identity. The success of these interventions in boosting minority enrollment and retention in engineering programs of study has been proven repeatedly in the literature (5, 10-13), with particularly strong evidence to support summer bridge programs (12) and intensive mentoring and academic supports (5, 10-14).

Beyond the model institutions participating in the NSBE study, it is unknown how many of the MEPs operating nationally offer these recommended interventions nor how many could potentially offer these interventions given current financial and administrative supports. The goal of this study is thus to broadly characterize the programmatic offerings and resourcing for MEPs nationwide and to determine whether MEP characteristics are correlated with URM representation in the undergraduate student body. We hypothesize that better resourced MEPs will have a greater number of programmatic offerings and a higher representation of URMs in their undergraduate population. Regardless of study outcome, our findings could lead to guidelines for effective resourcing and programming offerings for MEP programs nationally.

This study employed a triangulated data collection method that merged data from a web-based search of publicly available information on MEP websites, a voluntary survey of MEP administrators, and interviews with MEP administrators. Web-based data formed the core data set, with the survey and interviews serving to triangulate findings. Surveys and interviews were conducted in partnership with NAMEPA, a preeminent professional organization for MEP administrators with a membership of approximately 60 institutions. A single, validated instrument was used for all data collection arms, and this instrument was derived from two prior whitepaper surveys of MEPs conducted by professional organizations (NAMEPA and ASEE). Inclusion criteria for the web-based search included: (1) ABET-accredited engineering program; (2) sufficiently large graduating class size (>25th percentile nationally); (3) moderate to high academic caliber (top 100 USNWR for doctoral-granting, top 50 for non-doctoral); and (4) neither historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) nor a Hispanic serving institutions (HSI). Web-based data were cross-checked for a subset of institutions (ca. 20) using interview and survey methods with a common instrument. Agreement among web-based and interview/survey methods were modest, ranging from 30-70% across all measures. Web-based data collection underestimated programmatic offerings compared to interviews/surveys but accurately assessing resourcing levels; and we attribute this discrepancy to informal and pilot programs not being well advertised on MEP websites.

Our results showed that MEP resourcing, as quantified by the number of full-time staff, is moderately correlated with institutional size (no. graduates; r(100)=0.40, p=0.11) but not with URM representation at a given institution. The same is true for the number of MEP programmatic offerings, e.g., scholarships, mentoring, (r(100)=0.47, p=0.05 for correlation with institutional size). MEPs most commonly offered academic support (36%), summer bridge programs (32%), and scholarships (31%), and least commonly offered living learning communities (9%) and dedicated study workspaces (15%). Only 52% of all MEPs offer at least half of the recommended interventions, with merely two programs offering all recommended interventions. These results may be an underestimate of true programmatic offerings due to limitations in web-based searches; however, even when accounting for underestimation of individual MEP level, the recommended interventions are not offered widely nor consistently.

Taken together, these results suggest that MEP resourcing and programmatic offerings vary widely across institutions, and resourcing levels are most strongly predicted by size of the institution rather than current demographics of the student body. Furthermore, this study provides strong evidence that few MEPs nationally are offering the recommended interventions (4) to support underrepresented students within their programs, which may be due to insufficient resourcing. Future efforts should be directed towards institution and national-level advocacy for an infusion of resources into MEPs and guidance for these organizations to offer the recently recommended student interventions.

Buckley, J., & Miranda, M., & Trauth, A., & Johnson, M. T., & Vaughan, M. L., & Zephirin, T., & Dickerson, D., & Davidson, R. A. (2019, June), The MEP Census: Characterizing Essential Programmatic and Intrastructural Elements of Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) Nationwide Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33406

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: © 2019 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