From Fred Brown’s time as director of the Office of Engineering Diversity Programs (EDP), the office has seen a lot of change. In 1999, it was renamed and has come to serve not only African American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Alaskan Native students, but also female students.
Throughout the past 44 years, the office has supported more than 1,000 students. The Fred Brown Jr. Minority Academic Endowment, James Pippin Pre-College Program Endowment, Engineering Diversity Excellence Endowment, and Robert B. Lewis III Engineering Diversity Excellence Endowment provide resources for underrepresented students within the Tickle College of Engineering. Additionally, the office continues to expand to support more students from underrepresented populations who are pursuing engineering. The office is considered a safe place where students can learn, grow, receive encouragement, and even let out their frustrations from time to time.
EDP has also made massive strides in maintaining strong corporate relationships, including a partnership with the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP), which provides students with many opportunities including monthly enrichment to students on subjects involving professionalism and student development. The TLSAMP Graduate Development Program also offers post-undergraduate workshops and GRE preparation for students planning to attend graduate school.
This year, the Engineering VOLunteers for Ninth Graders summer program was selected for the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Programs Advocates Outreach Program Award. This award is given to honor programs that have actively increased the participation of students from historically underrepresented minority populations in engineering.
“EDP continues to develop partnerships across Tennessee to support community-based programs with the goal of supporting student learning and engineering exploration,” said Travis Griffin, director of the office.
“We’ve come a long way, but the journey continues,” says Griffin. “We are committed to supporting underrepresented students in any capacity. In the coming year, a renewed focus will be placed on Women in Engineering programs to increase outreach and retention efforts to increase the number of female engineers in our college.”
Griffin’s goal is to provide programming to address recruitment, transition, and retention of female engineering students while continuing the strong support for multicultural engineering students and their communities. Efforts will include class clustering, academic workshops, and community building in order to improve academic performance and retention.