University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

UCR recipient Dr. Sheldon Tan receives $20K from SIA to pilot stay-in-school program

UCR recipient Dr. Sheldon Tan receives $20K from SIA to pilot stay-in-school....
San Jose, CA, – May 24, 2005 – The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has awarded grants to five leading engineering schools to support innovative programs to address a high drop-out rate among engineering students. The SIA noted that approximately 50 percent of all students majoring in electrical engineering drop out of their major before completing their studies. The attrition rate is even higher among minority students. SIA awarded grants of $20,000 each to support pilot programs at the University of California-Riverside, University of the Pacific, North Carolina A & T, Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology, and Boise State University. The grant winners were selected from 43 proposals received from engineering schools across the country.

“The semiconductor industry has long been concerned that the supply of qualified electrical engineering graduates will not be adequate to meet our workforce demands in the years ahead,” said SIA President George Scalise. “There are signs that enrollment in electrical engineering programs is declining. Lower enrollments coupled with a high rate of drop outs – especially among minority students – could lead to a serious shortage of engineers within a few years.”

Scalise noted that many engineers working in the industry today are from the “baby boom” generation and will be retiring in greater numbers at a time when fewer American-born students are choosing to pursue careers in electrical engineering. “One of the fastest ways to address this growing problem is to reduce the attrition rate among those already in engineering programs. The SIA ‘Stay Tech’ program provides both funds and industry mentors for pilot programs to improve retention rates, especially among minority students.”

According to the SIA, the major reasons for high attrition among EE majors are poor preparation for requisite math and science courses, poor study habits, inadequate understanding of the requirements for an EE major, faculty attitudes that accept high attrition rates, lack of mentors or peers, and the absence of support systems for new students who are already facing a challenging transition to the college experience. A common theme of all the winning proposals is building peer support for engineering majors during their first two years in college.
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University of California, Riverside
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