Florida International University (FIU)
Florida International University (FIU), one of the twenty-five largest universities in the country, is also the largest Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in mainland US.
The University is the youngest university to have been awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most distinguished academic honor society. The School of Accounting is the largest in the country. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked FIU’s undergraduate international business programs seventh in the nation and the Chapman Graduate School of Business programs among the top 20. According to ASEE Profiles (2009) FIU ranks first in the continental U.S. in Hispanic engineering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees awarded. FIU also graduates a much larger percentage of African-Americans with B.S. degrees than the national average, and educates four times more female minority students than the national average. As part of the strategic plan of the College of Engineering, a major goal is to become the leading institution in graduating minority doctoral students in Engineering within 10 years.
Brief History of FIU’s Outreach Efforts
To support the mission of FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing, the Center For Diversity In Engineering and Computing (CDEC), was created to serve and engage students, teachers, families and communities in science, mathematics, engineering and technology education. Its purpose is to recruit, retain, graduate and serve an ethnically diverse population in its mission to increase the flow of traditionally underrepresented ethnic, gender groups and students with disabilities into the engineering pipeline.
The Center educates and enriches the K-16 population by providing bridge programs, dual enrollment, scholarships and undergraduate research experience.
FIU’s Efforts to Increase Underrepresented Groups in STEM Educations
The Center for Diversity in Engineering is committed to, first, increasing the overall number of students pursuing an Engineering Career, specifically here at FIU. Secondly, the Center strives to increase the proportion of students from traditionally underrepresented populations in the overall number of students who pursue an Engineering Degree. This results in greater diversity within the engineering student population, fostering greater social mobility for all groups and genders.
In order to achieve these goals, the Center engages in competing for federal and private contracts and grants directed towards this enhancement of the development of the human potential. Currently, the Center has several ongoing programs targeting local area schools and students. The Center, through its various programs, provides students in the K-16 grade levels with enhanced educational opportunities in order to assist them to succeed in college. At the pre-college levels (K-12), the Center provides tutoring services, teacher training, mentorships, enhanced academic instruction, career/college awareness seminars, counseling services, etc. For students at the college levels (13-16), the Center provides scholarships, research experiences, training, employment opportunities, and internship opportunities, in addition to those services previously listed. The Center currently employs approximately 300 college and university students, and others from a variety of majors, to work in the various projects and activities.
Currently the Center has several on-going programs targeting Elementary, Middle, and High School level students. These programs are offered throughout the school year and during the summer. GEAR UP! (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), ENLACE MIAMI (Engaging Latino Communities for Education), FLAME (Florida Action for Minorities in Engineering), Proyecto Access/Miami PREP (Prefreshman Engineering Program), and Tele-MAESTRO (Mathematics, Arts, Engineering, Science, and Technology Reach Out) are all efforts to encourage higher education in our community and provide opportunities to students in Miami Dade County Public Schools, from elementary to high school level. The Center also provides job and scholarship opportunities for FIU students. FGLSAMP (Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes’ Alliance for Minority Participation) and SHPE Honores (Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers) provide many students with financial assistance. FGLSAMP and SHPE Honores scholarship recipients are assisted in acquiring internships. Many are offered Summer Research Internships at NASA Centers around the country.