Engagement in Engineering Pathways “E-PATH” An Initiative to Retain Non-Traditional Students in Engineering

Engagement in Engineering Pathways “E-PATH” An Initiative to Retain Non-Traditional Students in Engineering

The summative external evaluation report describes the program's impact on faculty and students participating in recitation sessions and active teaching professional development sessions over two years. Student persistence and retention in engineering courses continue to be a challenge in undergraduate education, especially for students underrepresented in engineering disciplines. The program's goal was to use peer-facilitated instruction in core engineering courses known to have high attrition rates to retain underrepresented students, especially women, in engineering to diversify and broaden engineering participation. Findings revealed that women students had marginalization and intimidation perceptions primarily from courses with significantly more men than women. However, they shared numerous strategies that could support them towards success through the engineering pathway. Women and underrepresented students perceived that they did not have a network of peers and faculty as role models to identify within engineering disciplines. The recitation sessions had a positive social impact on Hispanic women. As opportunities to collaborate increased, Hispanic womens' social engagement increased. An analysis of quantitative survey data in the three engineering courses revealed a significant effect of race and ethnicity on comfort in asking questions in class, collaborating with peers outside the classroom, and applying mathematical concepts. Knowledge generated using peer-facilitated instruction at two-year colleges can improve underrepresented students' success and participation in engineering across a broad range of institutions.