Increasing Enrollment and Retention in the College of Engineering Using a Multi-Disciplinary Motorsports Theme
The project is applying NASCAR racing as an intellectual engagement strategy in a broad array of approaches to enroll better and brighter students and then capture their imagination in the key freshman year. It involves a collection of face to face presentations, flyers and guidance counselor posters, and a summer fellowship program. It is using the networking resources of an existing center of mathematics, science, and technology education (CMSTE) to reach the large numbers of under-represented minorities in the regional high schools and, through another existing program, gifted and talented students across the state. By applying hands-on learning modules with a NASCAR theme in first-year engineering courses, the investigators are introducing the students to exciting engineering activities. A key resource is the University of North Carolina Charlotte Race Shop, which has a number of powerful, useful, and available resources. Project evaluation, under the direction of two experts, is using surveys, interviews, observations, and focus groups to track how the project is being implemented and achieving its objectives. Dissemination efforts involve conference presentations, journal publications, and a comprehensive web site. Broader impacts include the K-12 outreach with a focus on underrepresented groups, networking and partnerships between the university and regional high schools, and the dissemination of project approaches and results.