S-STEM: Culture and Attitude II
The overall goal of S-STEM Culture and Attitude (C&A) II project is to recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. This goal will be met through a program designed to change the 'culture and attitude' of the campus so as to provide more pathways for a diverse group of students, in particular women students, to succeed in an engineering curriculum. The project will introduce new adaptations of curricular components designed to support intellectual diversity. The project will also build on existing co-curricular activities that support student success and self-efficacy by fostering technical skills, professional development, and personal development. A cohort of 25 students each year will be supported in the participating programs - Metallurgical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mining Engineering, and Civil Engineering. By fostering an environment of inclusion with emphasis on female students, the project will result in several outcomes that are expected to have significant institutional and societal impacts. More women students will enter engineering disciplines, thereby improving the intellectual diversity of the campus; women students will persist in engineering disciplines in greater numbers to fill the significant national need for women in engineering disciplines; students participating in the program will be engaged in service and outreach that will impact future students and young women in the community; the project will have a long-term positive effect within the university and the state by leveraging industrial collaborations to generate additional scholarships and make the program sustainable after the funding period ends; and results of the project will be disseminated to the campus community and a national audience to serve as a model for other programs.
The primary objectives for the project are to: (1) leverage existing resources to recruit academically talented students that satisfy program criteria with financial need and a commitment to an engineering career; (2) strengthen existing programs to retain engineering students in a positive climate that promotes academic and professional success by providing a learning environment that supports diverse learning styles, alternative experiential opportunities, and support for psycho-social development; (3) place students in appropriate employment or further education through programs emphasizing career planning and professional diversity; and (4) change the curriculum to adapt to more diverse learning styles and engage the institution in the challenge to implement best practices in retaining women and minorities. The project will employ a robust evaluation plan that will measure student typology (Herrmann Brain Dominance Inventory) and evaluate attitudes towards intellectual diversity. In addition, the assessment will examine the effect of program elements on perception of performance capabilities, which is a key factor related to persistence.