Engagement and Persistence of Students in Engineering

THERESA A. MALDONADO

Division Director, Engineering Education and Centers

Directorate for Engineering

National Science Foundation

Over the past two decades, in particular, the proportion of college and university students pur- suing engineering degrees continues to decline relative to the proportion of those entering higher education. Furthermore, U.S. federal policy and investments have targeted women and students from other underrepresented groups to engage in engineering. There have been some successes, but recent statistics show that their participation, in general, is declining once again. Reasons point to inadequate advising, lack of mentoring, financial challenges, unwelcoming environments, career-life balance, and other challenges.

This presentation will highlight the rapidly changing landscape of the engineering profession, which challenges the quality and nature of the education needed for successful careers. In addi- tion, strategies for engaging students into engineering programs and their persistence to success- ful completion of their degrees will be discussed. These strategies could benefit all engineering students and working engineers, including women and underrepresented minorities.

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