A new IDEA for Black and Hispanic engineers

Auc Blog

Over some 50 years, the Dual Degree Engineering Program at the Atlanta University Center Consortium has had a mission to graduate more Black engineers. A new $1.5 million investment gives that mission a boost by helping create a new national hub called IDEA (officially, the Institute for Dual Degree Engineering Advancement) focused on increasing the number of minority engineers across the country.

Students who graduate from the AUCC program earn a liberal arts degree from one of three of AUCC’s member institutions – Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College or Spelman College – and an engineering degree from one of nine partner schools, including Georgia Tech, the first engineering school to partner with AUCC in 1969. More than 5,000 students have graduated from the program.

Although Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have accounted for 40% of all Black engineers in the U.S., people of color remain underrepresented in engineering and other STEM fields, according to Pew Research. The gift to AUCC, from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, will be used to increase the number of Black and Hispanic engineers by fostering collaboration between dual degree engineering programs at private, liberal arts HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions across the country, helping them develop models through sharing best practices.

At an event in November, Said Sewell, the director of academics, research and student success at AUCC who oversees the dual degree engineering program, indicated the announcement of the gift marked the start of a capital campaign for IDEA. Natalie Grandison, director of engineering initiatives at the Clark Foundation, said the funds will also help grow the number of enrollees in the AUCC-Microsoft DDEP Summer Bridge Program, a seven-week intensive program for students who have been accepted into the dual degree engineering program that features pre-engineering coursework, networking and exposure to engineering career opportunities.

Watch for an in-depth article in Georgia Trend’s February issue on how the program works and AUCC’s efforts to increase dual degree engineering programs throughout the U.S.

Photo courtesy Thomson200, CCO, via Wikimedia Commons. Shown is the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library.

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Categories: Blog, Education (Blog), Workforce Development (Blog)