F9-SP2-3 - Improving the Student Experience to Broaden Participation in Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Diane Rover1 , Mani Mina1, Alicia Herron-Martinez1, Sarah Rodriguez2, Maria Espino1, Brian Le1
1 Iowa State University
2 Texas A&M University - Commerce

This Innovative Practice Full Paper presents a student experience model being implemented in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at Iowa State University. The department has been implementing, adapting and enhancing a student experience model as part of a scholarship program designed to support and increase the success of students from underrepresented groups in the fields of electrical, computer, software, and cyber security engineering, including community college transfer students. The student experience model uses evidence-based practices focused on professional and leadership development. Interventions include a weekly seminar; group activities such as outreach projects and volunteering; conference participation; faculty and peer mentoring; academic and social support; and collaborative activities with diversity programs, learning communities, student organizations, and companies. Feedback from students and input from peer mentors have been used to improve programming with an emphasis on sense of belonging, professional development, supportive community, leadership, and holistic well-being. In addition, due in part to various entry points into the model, the wide variety of student backgrounds, needs and experiences has been illuminated. This has helped the department and faculty become more aware of issues and consider new models and structures. This paper provides an overview of the student experience model and outcomes, including a summary of research results.