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dc.contributor Wood, Luke en
dc.contributor Travis, Deborah J. en
dc.contributor.advisor Turner, Caroline Sotello Viernes en
dc.contributor.author Batarseh, Samer Musa en
dc.date.accessioned 2013-07-12T15:01:17Z en
dc.date.available 2013-07-12T15:01:17Z en
dc.date.issued 2013-07-12 en
dc.date.submitted 2013-04-30 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10211.9/2216 en
dc.description Dissertation (Ed.D., Educational Leadership) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2013. en
dc.description.abstract In 2008, about 4% of all undergraduate degrees awarded in the United States were in engineering compared to 31% in China and about 19% throughout Asia (National Science Foundation, 2012). Based on current graduation rates, the United States is still expected to experience shortages in university graduates with engineering degrees (Sinkele & Mupinga, 2011). According to the National Foundation of American Policy (2010), in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, American companies hired 890,100 scientists and engineers through the usage of H-1B visas. According to the National Science Foundation (2013), “Women, persons with disabilities, and three racial/ethnic groups—African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians— are considered underrepresented in science and engineering” (p. 2). According to the U.S. Census (2010), within the labor market for engineers with four-year university degrees, African Americans make up 3.2% of the workforce while making up 12% of the total population. Latinos/as make up 4.7% of the workforce while making up 16% of the total population. White females make up 7.5% of the workforce while making up 32% of the U.S. (U.S. Census, 2010). Many female and underrepresented minority students often opt for community colleges as gateways to higher education. Open access, closeness to work and family, and affordable fees make community colleges ideal options for all especially minority students (Tsapogas, 2004). To meet the demands of the labor market and maintain a global leadership position in innovative technologies, the United States can tap into underrepresented groups in engineering within the American populations to solve the problem of the shortage of engineers within the American labor market (Frehill, Di Fabio, & Hill, 2008). This qualitative study was based on personal interviews with 14 successful individuals from underrepresented groups in engineering. Using semi-structured interviews this qualitative study sought to understand the perceptions and experiences of participants. Data were collected from participants using demographic surveys and semi-structured individual interview questions. The sample of participants included 14 individuals from underrepresented groups in engineering who had first attended a community college prior to obtaining entry into a four-year college engineering program. This study explored the lived experiences of three African American males, three White females, and five Latinos, and three Latinos who were successful in using community colleges as pathways to gain admission into engineering schools at four-year universities. This qualitative study was influenced by the cultural capital model (Bourdieu, 1986) and the anti-deficit achievement model (Harper, 2010). The study sought to find answer to the following research questions: 1) what helped these successful individuals choose community colleges as pathways towards engineering majors? 2) What helped the participants complete the transfer journey from community colleges to engineering schools at four-year universities? and 3) What long-term academic and career goals were shaped by the community college experience? Based on the findings of this study, the participants chose community colleges as pathways based on low cost, location, experimenting with higher education, peer pressure, and remediation. The factors that helped the participants complete the transfer journey from community colleges to engineering schools at four-year universities were achieving the rite of passage to higher education while staying at home, receiving support from passionate instructors, having rigorous curriculum, learning new pedagogies, completing internships, and joining campus clubs. The community college experience had a big impact on the academic and career plans of participants who stated they wanted to work as engineers, pursue graduate studies, undertake entrepreneurship, and pay back to their community through volunteering and mentoring. Based on the findings in this study, prior to the community college stage, parents should take the responsibility of supporting, influencing, and planning children’s STEM plans early in life and communicate their plans to teachers and administrators. New community college students should be prepared for the rigor of science and math courses at community colleges by taking the necessary courses in high school. During the community college stage, future engineers should get involved in math, science, and engineering clubs, seek advice from academic counselors, learn multitasking and time management skills, join study groups, and complete available challenging courses before transferring. At the post community college stage, students should get involved in engineering societies and clubs, complete engineering internships, and seek anti-deficit agents or mentors. From a transformational leadership perspective, this study recommends that K-12 leaders plant the engineering seeds early among young students. The study calls for better collaboration among parents, students, leaders in K-12 institutions, community colleges, four-year university systems, and engineering sector employers. The study recommends better understanding of the challenges, strengths, wants, and needs of underrepresented groups in engineering. The study also recommends community college leaders create awareness about community colleges as viable and feasible pathways for bachelor’s degrees in engineering, improving student services including counseling and advising for engineering transfer students, and create more academic clubs and activities on community college campuses. From a public policy perspective, this study recommends establishing mandates and incentives to create tangible collaboration among high schools, community colleges, and four-year universities. Also, the study recommends influencing policymakers through emphasizing the economic value of community colleges and the high return on investment (ROI) of using community colleges as pathways. Also, the study recommends highlighting the voting power of underrepresented groups and the need to transform the current funding model for California community colleges. From a data-based decision making perspective, the study recommends better uses for using current demographic data to properly plan for future academic plans and the use of historical data to improve student services. Based on the findings of this study, when understood and utilized properly by students and parents, the community college system could provide the necessary dispositions to provide underrepresented students with anti-deficit support and cultural capital to access higher education and succeed in earning high ROI degrees like engineering. en
dc.description.sponsorship Educational Leadership en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.subject Science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) en
dc.subject Minority students en
dc.subject Shortage of engineers in the U.S en
dc.subject Community college en
dc.subject Higher education en
dc.title A study of underrepresented individuals who utilized community colleges as pathways to gain admission into engineering schools at four-year universities en
dc.type Dissertation en


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