June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1410.1 - 11.1410.13
Using Service-Learning to Integrate K-12 Outreach into a First-Year Engineering Program
Abstract Engineering educators face many challenges in designing first-year programs and outreach programs for K-12 students. First-year students need real experiences early in their program to allow them to learn to address large and open-ended and large problems. Pre-college students need opportunities to learn about and even experience engineering. Especially challenging are programs for urban students that address recruitment and retention. In 2003 the Department of Engineering Education at Purdue University began a partnership to address both the needs of pre-college and first-year engineering students. First-year engineering and science Multi- Cultural Learning Communities partner with an outreach program, Science Bound, which works with junior and senior high school students from a large urban school system. This partnership uses a service-learning model to engage the first-year university students with the high school students that is meaningful for both groups. 120 students from engineering and science and over 200 junior and senior high students, from 8 urban schools have participated in this program. This paper will focus on the engineering aspect of the K-12 outreach program and the experiences of both the first-year college and high school students. Both qualitative and quantitative assessments of will be reported and have shown initial success.
Introduction Modern society continues to rely on research and technology related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) which is driving an ever increasing demand for qualified professionals. A major area of concern over the last two decades has been the declining interest in the engineering fields among pre-college students and the continued underrepresentation of women and minorities. The efforts of the past two decades have produced gains in some areas, but women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans continue to be underrepresented. Reports by the National Science and Technology Council1 and the Commission for Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology 2 identify the societal perils of continued disparate representation across engineering and the STEM fields. Continued underrepresentation has dire implications for the future of the technical workforce as the demand for qualified professionals will outpace the available pool if the demographics do not change3. The additional human cost for unequal access that is characterized by underrepresentation makes the issue compelling and critical for society and the STEM fields in particular. Thus, beyond the moral and ethical implications of unequal access, which would be a sufficient cause for concern by them, underrepresentation in engineering and the STEM fields as a whole becomes a critical and compelling issue for society in general.
The compelling nature of the issue has generated a great deal of effort over the past two decades and resources have been dedicated to increasing the representation of these underrepresented groups. These efforts have included programs targeted at special populations with the creation of minority and women’s programs in engineering, technology and science; summer and outreach programs for K-12 student; summer bridge programs and larger curriculum reform efforts including the NSF Coalitions4. Many outreach programs have been developed by the
Thompson, M., & Oakes, W. (2006, June), Using Service Learning To Integrate K 12 Outreach Into A First Year Engineering Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1269
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