Message from the Associate Dean
Michael L. Vaughan
The College of Engineering is host to one of the nation's earliest and most successful minority engineering programs. For almost a quarter century, the mission of the Resources to Insure Successful Engineers (RISE) Program has been to recruit and encourage academically prepared native-born, African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students, as well as others who, as a group, remain underrepresented in engineering. The prime objective of the RISE Program is to assist these students in attaining an engineering degree. Currently, RISE students comprise more than 11% of the engineering student body, and their overall retention rate is comparable to that of the engineering student body as a whole. RISE has over 120 full time participants where 40% are female, 54% are African American, 29% are Hispanic American, and 3% are Native American students. In addition, there are a growing number of students from other diverse background now comprising 14% of the program The RISE Program has strong University support in the form of RISE scholarships as well as financial support is derived from University Merit scholarships and industrial sponsors. The Program has an annual budget in excess of $800,000. On average for the last four years, RISE has raised over $300,000 annually in support of its various programmatic activities.
Reporting to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and administered by a full-time Program Manager, Staff Assistant and part-time assistance of additional staff, the RISE Program has many special features that make it unique. Its recruitment efforts seek academically talented students who possess strong interpersonal and leadership skills. These students in large part are highly motivated, academically aggressive, and determined. RISE students and their parents sign a contractual document indicating that the student is aware of the program participation elements and regulations.
One of the program elements is the pre-freshman, intensive 5-week Summer Enrichment Program, which is an extension of the academic year program. Students take regular summer session courses typically in calculus and English where they receive academic credit, develop study skills, acclimate themselves to campus life, and gain a head start on the college experience. Other key features of the RISE Program include personal development workshops, close monitoring and communication with parents, tutoring, mentoring, undergraduate research, and individualized guidance in the selection of career and/or graduate school matriculation. RISE students are continually oriented to success in engineering through engineering-related employment opportunities in industry during school vacations; participation in engineering societies, including close connection with student chapters of the Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers; and participation in undergraduate research opportunities.
A career is a journey of many steps. This RISE Program can provide a paramount leap forward.
Michael L. Vaughan, MSEE
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs