July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Minorities in Engineering
Studies on graduate education have shown that underrepresented minorities finish PhDs in engineering at lesser rates and longer timeframes than their majority counterparts. While multiple interventions have been designed for students considering their decision to apply for graduate school, few focus on the transition into those doctoral programs. Graduate student development frameworks argue that it is during this initial transition into doctoral education that graduate students suffer the largest dissonance with their environment. Students typically enter the Ph.D. with misconceptions about what pursuing a doctoral degree entails; hence, they have to correct them quickly to continue and advance towards their degree. When students fail to correct these misconceptions, they are more likely to struggle in the program, more likely to make decisions harmful towards degree progress, and ultimately, they are less likely to finish their degree. We have found these findings present in the experiences of underrepresented students in engineering. To prepare minoritized doctoral students for this transition to the Ph.D., we developed and researched the Rising Doctoral Institute (RDI). The RDI is a four-day summer workshop for incoming doctoral students who identify as underrepresented in engineering and intend to begin graduate school in the Fall semester. The RDI stems from an on-going one-week workshop, The Dissertation Institute (DI), which focuses on helping advanced minority Ph.D. students overcome the final stages of the Ph.D. by providing writing strategies and accountability. Through the participants’ accounts of their experience in the DI, we learn which strategies would have been helpful to them had they learned them sooner in the Ph.D. process. These strategies are the basis of the content presented in the RDI. This paper aims to discuss the process through which we developed the RDI and our initial research findings. We designed and executed the first RDI in 2019 to offer participants tools and strategies for preparing to begin their Ph.D. and how to maintain degree progress throughout their studies. Throughout the workshop, the sessions included topics crucial to participant’s success in graduate school, such as time management, advisor-advisee relationships, building the dissertation committee, and managing their funding. We designed a research plan to include pre/post-surveys and interviews to create a rich dataset to understand the underrepresented minority student’s transition to the Ph.D. process. This paper will first discuss what the literature says about doctoral students’ transition into the Ph. D. We will then discuss how this RDI approach supports the specific needs of minority students using results from our pilot RDI. We conclude this paper with our plan to disseminate these workshops across multiple institutions in the US.
Artiles , M. S., & Cruz, J. M., & Blackowski, S. A., & Matusovich, H. M., & Adams, S. G., & Lee-Thomas, G. (2021, July), The Rising Doctoral Institute: Preparing Minority Students for the Transition into the Engineering Ph.D. Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37888
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