Engineering associate degree program recognized as leader in retention and transition
04.06.2016 | By Andrea Vasquez
San Jacinto College is one of three Texas Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) to be designated a recipient of the Excellence in Retention and Transition for Hispanic Serving Institutions award by Texas A&M University for its engineering sciences associate degree program.
Each award recipient institution receives a $1,500 award and an invitation to present at Texas A&M University’s HSI Mid Years Engineering Experience Conference (MYEEC). The international conference focuses on the middle years between engineering students’ first year and the final year, which includes an emphasis on sophomore retention, and discipline specific and professional preparation in their junior year.
Both Andrew Vines, San Jacinto College South Campus department chair for chemistry, engineering, geology, and physics, and Dr. Karen Duston, San Jacinto College South Campus engineering program coordinator and professor, presented their paper, “Instilling Student Confidence,” which highlighted successful student success strategies of the College’s engineering sciences associate degree program including confidence in the engineering program, confidence in student support, and confidence in completion of the program and successful matriculation into a four-year engineering program.
“Our program’s approach is multi-faceted, including undergoing mock ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology) reviews to ensure the rigor of our program; holding student informational and registration sessions; promoting special events like National Engineers Week; and constantly meeting with our university partners to ensure our students seamlessly and successfully transition into four-year engineering programs,” said Vines. “Our students are prepared academically, personally, and professionally to complete our option-based Associate of Science in Engineering Science degree program and transfer into a four-year engineering field of study with little to no learning curve; they are prepared to take on the challenge of becoming the next generation of engineers.”
Providing an engineering pathway for underrepresented students is one of the program’s main goals. “This award is validation of San Jacinto College’s strategies to increase success for our underserved populations in STEM programs of study, especially bridging the gap for female Hispanic and Latina students pursuing engineering,” said Dr. Duston.
According to the National Science Foundation’s recent annual report, “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering,” Hispanic women make up only two percent of today’s the science and engineering workforce. The American Association of University Women’s 2015 report, “Solving the Equation” also states that even as recent as 2013, underrepresented minority women made up only three percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees in the U.S.
To date, the San Jacinto College engineering sciences associate degree program has seen an overall College-wide enrollment increase of 1,000 percent since Fall 2014, with 900 percent of that occurring at the South Campus alone. What began at the South Campus with an initial program enrollment of 29 students has now grown to nearly 300 students enrolled for the Spring 2016 semester. This Spring, the College has nearly 500 students enrolled in the engineering sciences associate degree program and this May will graduate the first eight students of the program, with all of them transferring into four-year university engineering programs.
In Fall 2015, San Jacinto College signed an articulation agreement with the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering program, adding another seamless transfer option for associate degree engineering students. The College also has articulation agreements with the engineering programs at the University of Texas at Tyler and Texas Tech University.
For more information on the San Jacinto College associate of science in engineering science program, visit sanjac.edu/engineering.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.