Minority/Multicultural Engineering Program Impact: A Student Perspective of Co-Curricular Support

Walter Lee, Holly Matusovich
2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
Minority/Multicultural Engineering Programs (MEPs) are popular approaches to supporting underrepresented students in engineering colleges, and are commonly found at large, 4-year, public, research-intensive universities. Despite the widespread adoption of MEPs, research has not yet fully examined the function of these units. While many researchers have investigated MEPs with regard to academic impact (i.e., change in GPA and graduation rates), we know comparatively little about how such centers
more » ... ut how such centers directly influence the institutional experiences of undergraduate students. The purpose of this paper is to highlight a student perspective of MEPs. In particular, our overarching research question asks: From the student perspective, what impact does an MEP have on the undergraduate experiences of engineering students from underrepresented populations? While students did report primarily positive impacts, they also reported some negative impacts. The combination of these positive and negative perspectives revealed pertinent lessons with regard to the impact an MEP can have on the student experience. Our findings will assist engineering colleges with offering student interventions that positively influence the undergraduate experience while mitigating unintended negative impacts. This study is a step towards better understanding the use of MEPs to provide underrepresented students with co-curricular support.
doi:10.18260/p.24494 fatcat:ilceoweehnbo7n22u4zf2kqyla