Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, has received a $1.92 million grant to increase diversity in its engineering school.
In the U.S., women make up about 13 percent of the civil engineering workforce, and minority workers just under a quarter. With the money from the National Science Foundation, Rowan University wants to increase those numbers to be more representative of the general population, said Tony Lowman, dean of the college of engineering.
The initiative will include everything from changes to admission standards, to developing a mentoring program, and curriculum adjustments.
Lowman said the college already recruits at schools with diverse student bodies, and sees a lot of enthusiasm.
“Where we haven’t done well is transitioning that interest we’re getting at the middle-school level into students coming into these engineering schools. And then pursuing engineering as a discipline and being retained in the discipline,” Lowman said. “I think we’re kind of fixing the next step in the pipeline: getting them here.”
The project will be headed up by professor Beena Sukumaran, who received the grant.
It will initially focus on Rowan’s civil engineering department and then expand through the college of engineering. Rowan will also offer guidance to other institutions that want to implement similar programs.