|Abstract or Summary
- An interpretative philosophical framework was applied to a case study to document the particular experiences and perspectives of ten women engineering transfer students
who once attended a community college and are currently enrolled in one of two university
professional engineering programs. This study is important because women still do not earn as many
engineering baccalaureate degrees as men and are underrepresented in the engineering labor market.
There is also a shortfall of domestic engineers entering the workforce. Community colleges are an
essential part of the engineering baccalaureate degree pipeline and well-positioned to fill this
void as feeder institutions.
Data was collected from one-on-one and follow-up focus group interviews and addressed three research questions: (a) What were their community college
experiences, (b) what should community colleges continue to do to support women engineering
transfer students, and (c) what can be
done to improve community college engineering transfer programs, especially
for women? This study has limited broad generalization, but adds another dimension to existing research pertaining to community college transfer and women engineering
students (Stake, 1995).
Two main themes emerged from the study participants: the affect of curriculum and instruction, and student survival strategies and support. Common thematic experiences supporting the affect of curriculum and instruction main theme are: (a) Accessible and approachable staff, (b) prepared with foundational knowledge, (c) different grading methods, (d) loved math and science courses, and (e) subtle forms of biases. The student survival and support strategies
main theme was supported by four common thematic experiences: (a) Engineering student study groups,
(b) community college engineering faculty advising, (c) self-advising, and (d) tutoring.
Study participants suggested that community colleges continue to support women engineering transfer students with the following strategies: (a) Provide a caring and available staff, (b) keep small classes, (c) align and synchronize curriculum, and (d) provide tutoring services. They suggested the following improvements: (a) Connections with other engineering students, (b) increase student outreach and career awareness activities, (c) expand academic advising, (d)provide additional financial aid, and (e) offer additional engineering courses at the community college.