Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 12: Undergraduate Student Support Programs

Bevlee A. Watford


Bevlee A. Watford INTRODUCTION This chapter will discuss three different types of student support programs that have been implemented within the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Formally targeting women and other underrepresented minority populations, these programs were developed independently, but were based on existing programs at other institutions. It should be noted that specific program operational details may vary from one institution to the next, but the general intent of these types of programs remains consistent. The intent is to aid underrepresented students as they transition from high school to college, providing them with the information and skills they need to become successful students. The programs described in this chapter were developed for women, African-American and Latino students who are underrepresented populations in the College of Engineering. Initially, this chapter will provide a discussion of why these types of programs are useful. The three primary areas of student development (academic, professional and personal) are presented. Then each support program is presented in enough detail to enable planning and implementation. It is not intended to present here an exhaustive description of all possible types of support programs. Instead, three programs will be discussed in detail: pre-college bridge or transition programs, mentoring programs and residential communities. Both the purpose and operational function of each program is provided. A separate discussion is provided on program advertising, as the activities are similar regardless of type of program. A short discussion of assessment and dissemination activities is also given. In conclusion, a...

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