Engineering Career Awareness Program

Lead Institution: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Collaborating Institutions: Dual degree programs: Fort Valley State University (Fort Valley, GA), Philander Smith College (Little Rock, AR), University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Pine Bluff, AR), Pulaski Technical College (Little Rock, AR), Crowder College (Neosho, MO), and Northwest Arkansas Community College (Bentonville, AR). Other universities provide sites for REU experiences, and corporations provide support and internships.

Category: Extracurricular/Retention

Date Implemented: Fall 2007

Website: ecap.uark.edu

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Program Description: The goal of the Engineering Career Awareness Program (ECAP) is to increase the number of underrepresented students, especially those who are capable but financially challenged, who obtain engineering degrees and enter engineering graduate studies or the engineering workforce. ECAP recruitment strategies include: informational outreach efforts with large populations of underrepresented students, making presentations, educating counselors and talking individually to students; involving current minority engineering students who can relate well to future ECAP students; disseminating scholarships and financial aid information to underrepresented students to assist them in navigating the complicated scholarship and financial aid system; and forming partnerships with HBCUs. ECAP includes six retention elements: a three-week summer in-residence engineering bridge program to allow students to engage in engineering/teambuilding activities, make friends, and transition to campus life; renewable scholarships, which supplement other scholarships and grants to make each student’s total award equal to the cost of attendance; yearly paid summer co-op/internship, research, or study abroad opportunities; mentoring by junior and senior ECAP students; a living-learning community; and a Freshman Engineering Program designed to increase retention of all freshman students through block scheduling and specialized services. The Biological, Chemical, Civil, Computer Science & Engineering, Electrical, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering departments all support ECAP students financially through departmental scholarships and provide additional faculty mentoring, while the Freshman Engineering Program facilitates specialized tutoring and peer mentoring by other ECAP students. The Honors College provides competitive study abroad and undergraduate research grants as well as scholarships for high-achieving entering students. The Enrollment Management Office, which includes the Scholarship Office, assists in identifying potential ECAP students and awarding the Silas Hunt Scholarship. The Office of Diversity Affairs, which includes the Multicultural Center and Pre-College Programs, provides support for the ECAP Summer Bridge Program as well as additional mentoring support for ECAP students. University Housing, Development and the Career Development Center also play integral roles.

Anticipated and Actual Outcomes: Since ECAP’s implementation, the number of new freshmen ethnic minority students has increased 190% to 20% of the class in 2011. The University competitively awards a Silas Hunt Scholarship to underrepresented students, and ECAP has raised its acceptance rate from 60% to 79% and increased the number of engineering recipients. The retention and graduation rates of ECAP students are significantly higher than those of non-ECAP students. ECAP students completed internships with at least 24 companies and participated in REU programs at 8 other universities. Of the 2011 graduates, 27% pursued engineering graduate degrees and the rest obtained placement with corporations with an average starting salary of $62,000. In addition, ECAP students are highly sought after by numerous corporations looking for diverse engineering talent. Several companies have hired ECAP students for internships or full-time employment and have participated in the ECAP Executive Speaker Dinner Series.

Assessment Information: ECAP is part of a formal research program started in 2008 as part of work funded by NSF to determine quantitative and qualitative factors that impact and predict student success beyond grades, financial need, social integration, and student satisfaction. This longitudinal research study integrates demographic, academic, and financial data with data from an annual survey asking engineering students about their satisfaction with the college retention and degree programs, integration and comfort level with people from diverse populations and with majority populations, alcohol and substance use, physical and mental health, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors rarely assessed. In addition, the project hired an external evaluator to collect data from independent sources to determine whether stated quantitative benchmark objectives are met and to implement systematic qualitative evaluation techniques to support the quantitative information. The seven evaluated program elements are: 1) recruitment, 2) the Freshman Engineering Program, 3) peer mentoring, 4) co-ops, internships, or summer research experience, 5) summer bridge program, 6) scholarships, and 7) the living-learning community. This approach helped determine which program elements require incremental improvement, while still supporting the ongoing overall project assessment.

Funding/Sustainability: In Fall 2006, the College of Engineering committed $100,000 for the startup of ECAP, including a $51,000 marketing plan, $24,000 in targeted recruitment costs, and $25,000 for the inaugural three-week summer program. In 2007, the College renovated and furnished 5,500 square feet of space in Engineering Hall at a total cost of $300,000. Current annual costs are: recruitment, $15,000; summer residency program, $30,000; average annual need-based scholarships, $364,630; recruitment/retention personnel, $74,500; ECAP Dinner Series, $8,000. The College is working to secure an endowment to ensure that this program continues long into the future.



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Engineering Career Awareness Program Lead Institution: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR Collaborating Institutions: Dual degree programs: Fort Valley State University (Fort Val- ley, GA), Philander Smith College (Little Rock, AR), University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Pine Bluff, AR), Pulaski Technical College (Little Rock, AR), Crowder College (Neosho, MO), and Northwest Arkansas Community College (Bentonville, AR). Other universities provide sites for REU experiences, and corporations provide support and internships. Category: Extracurricular/Retention Date Implemented: Fall 2007 Website: ecap.uark.edu Program Description: The goal of the Engineering Career significantly higher than those of non-ECAP students. ECAP Awareness Program (ECAP) is to increase the number of students completed internships with at least 24 companies and underrepresented students, especially those who are capable but participated in REU programs at 8 other universities. Of the financially challenged, who obtain engineering degrees and 2011 graduates, 27% pursued engineering graduate degrees and enter engineering graduate studies or the engineering work- the rest obtained placement with corporations with an average force. ECAP recruitment strategies include: informational starting salary of $62,000. In addition, ECAP students are outreach efforts with large populations of underrepresented highly sought after by numerous corporations looking for students, making presentations, educating counselors diverse engineering talent. Several companies and talking individually to students; involving current have hired ECAP students for internships or full- minority engineering students who can relate well to time employment and have participated in the future ECAP students; disseminating scholarships and ECAP Executive Speaker Dinner Series. financial aid information to underrepresented students Assessment Information: ECAP is part of a to assist them in navigating the complicated scholar- formal research program started in 2008 as part ship and financial aid system; and forming partner- of work funded by NSF to determine quantitative ships with HBCUs. ECAP includes six retention and qualitative factors that impact and predict elements: a three-week summer in-residence engineer- student success beyond grades, financial need, ing bridge program to allow students to engage in social integration, and student satisfaction. This engineering/teambuilding activities, make friends, and longitudinal research study integrates demo- transition to campus life; renewable scholarships, which graphic, academic, and financial data with data from an annual supplement other scholarships and grants to make each stu- survey asking engineering students about their satisfaction with dent’s total award equal to the cost of attendance; yearly paid the college retention and degree programs, integration and summer co-op/internship, research, or study abroad opportuni- comfort level with people from diverse populations and with ties; mentoring by junior and senior ECAP students; a living- majority populations, alcohol and substance use, physical and learning community; and a Freshman Engineering Program mental health, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors designed to increase retention of all freshman students through rarely assessed. In addition, the project hired an external block scheduling and specialized services. The Biological, evaluator to collect data from independent sources to determine Chemical, Civil, Computer Science & Engineering, Electrical, whether stated quantitative benchmark objectives are met and Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering departments all support to implement systematic qualitative evaluation techniques to ECAP students financially through departmental scholarships support the quantitative information. The seven evaluated and provide additional faculty mentoring, while the Freshman program elements are: 1) recruitment, 2) the Freshman Engi- Engineering Program facilitates specialized tutoring and peer neering Program, 3) peer mentoring, 4) co-ops, internships, or mentoring by other ECAP students. The Honors College summer research experience, 5) summer bridge program, 6) provides competitive study abroad and undergraduate research scholarships, and 7) the living-learning community. This grants as well as scholarships for high-achieving entering approach helped determine which program elements require students. The Enrollment Management Office, which includes incremental improvement, while still supporting the ongoing the Scholarship Office, assists in identifying potential ECAP overall project assessment. students and awarding the Silas Hunt Scholarship. The Office Funding/Sustainability: In Fall 2006, the College of Engineer- of Diversity Affairs, which includes the Multicultural Center ing committed $100,000 for the startup of ECAP, including a and Pre-College Programs, provides support for the ECAP $51,000 marketing plan, $24,000 in targeted recruitment costs, Summer Bridge Program as well as additional mentoring and $25,000 for the inaugural three-week summer program. In support for ECAP students. University Housing, Development 2007, the College renovated and furnished 5,500 square feet of and the Career Development Center also play integral roles. space in Engineering Hall at a total cost of $300,000. Current Anticipated and Actual Outcomes: Since ECAP’s implemen- annual costs are: recruitment, $15,000; summer residency tation, the number of new freshmen ethnic minority students program, $30,000; average annual need-based scholarships, has increased 190% to 20% of the class in 2011. The University $364,630; recruitment/retention personnel, $74,500; ECAP competitively awards a Silas Hunt Scholarship to underrepre- Dinner Series, $8,000. The College is working to secure an sented students, and ECAP has raised its acceptance rate from endowment to ensure that this program continues long into the 60% to 79% and increased the number of engineering recipi- future. ents. The retention and graduation rates of ECAP students are 28