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Weaving Students into Engineering Versus Weeding Them Out: A Framework for Institutions

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2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD)


Arlington, Virginia

Publication Date

February 25, 2024

Start Date

February 25, 2024

End Date

February 27, 2024

Conference Session

Track 5: Technical Session 3: Weaving Students into Engineering Versus Weeding Them Out: A Framework for Institutions

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

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Paper Authors


Jenna P. Carpenter Campbell University

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Dr. Carpenter is Founding Dean of Engineering at Campbell University. She is Immediate Past President of ASEE, past president of WEPAN, a past NSF ADVANCE PI, and co-recipient of the 2022 NAE Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Engineering Technology Education. She also received the 2019 ASEE Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education and the 2018 WEPAN Founder's Award.

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Historically, engineering programs have weeded out all but the perceived brightest and best, believing that many students who wanted to major in engineering did not have what it takes. While engineering programs have broadened their view of which students have potential, and dropped some overt weed-out practices, today many structures, policies, mindsets, and approaches in engineering education still echo the weed-out philosophy. As a result, our institutions largely focus on admitting and educating students who have enjoyed the most pre-college opportunities, not those with the most ability. Because of systemic issues, including bias, stereotypes, and related inequities, historically underrepresented students often lack pre-college opportunity and preparation.

A series of brainstorming sessions in Spring 2022 identified three focus areas for this effort: admissions practices, onboarding of students, and student skills development. ASEE and the National Academy of Engineering secured an NSF-funded BPE grant which has developed a draft framework and related evidence-based practices in the areas of recruiting, admissions, student onboarding, student skills development, curricular approaches, and policies/procedures. ERVA (Engineering Research Visioning Alliance) co-hosted a listening session to collect student voices which has further informed this work, along with a second set of virtual focus group sessions in spring of 2023 to collect additional input and feedback. This presentation will examine the framework and supporting documents, as well as consider the type of cultural changes which will be necessary to engage institutions in adopting the framework and adapting/implementing evidence-based practices in these focus areas.

Carpenter, J. P. (2024, February), Weaving Students into Engineering Versus Weeding Them Out: A Framework for Institutions Paper presented at 2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD), Arlington, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--45495

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