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The California Community College system plays an important role in providing affordable and accessible education to diverse student populations by allowing them to complete all of their lower-division course work and then transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree. However, the increasing divergence of the lower-division requirements among different four-year institutions and among the different fields of engineering, coupled with decreasing enrollments and resources, has forced many community colleges to cancel low-enrollment classes and high-cost programs including those in engineering. To address this issue, four community colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area developed an innovative program titled Creating Alternative Learning Strategies for Transfer Engineering Programs (CALSTEP). Funded by the National Science Foundation through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program, CALSTEP aims to enable small-to-medium community college engineering programs to support a comprehensive set of lower-division engineering courses that are delivered either completely online, or with limited face-to-face interactions. In addition to developing and implementing curriculum materials and resources for the core lower-division engineering courses, one of the main components of CALSTEP is disseminating the curriculum widely in California community college engineering programs. This is done through the Summer Engineering Teaching Institute, which is a two-daymore »
Strategies for Developing, Expanding, and Strengthening Community College Engineering Transfer ProgramsBroadening participation in engineering among underrepresented minority students remains a big challenge for institutions of higher education. Since a large majority of underrepresented students attend community colleges, engineering transfer programs at these community colleges can play an important role in addressing this challenge. However, for most community college engineering programs, developing strategies and programs to increase the number and diversity of students successfully pursuing careers in engineering is especially challenging due to limited expertise, shrinking resources, and continuing budget crises. This paper is a description of how a small engineering transfer program at a Hispanic-Serving community college in California developed effective partnerships with high schools, other institutions of higher education, and industry partners in order to create opportunities for underrepresented community college students to excel in engineering. Developed through these partnerships are programs for high school students, current community college students, and community college engineering faculty. Programs for high school students include a) the Summer Engineering Institute – a two-week residential summer camp for sophomore and junior high school students, and b) the STEM Institute – a three-week program for high school freshmen to explore STEM fields. Academic and support programs for college students include: a) Math Jam – amore »