2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

An Asset Approach to Broadening Participation: Tips and Tools for Strategic Planning

Presented at Track: Learning Spaces, Pedagogy & Curriculum Design Technical Session 9

All too often when thinking about recruiting, supporting, and retaining diverse students in our STEM majors and programs, the situation is approached from a deficit mindset; that is, one that focuses on what students or environments lack that must be remedied. In our work supporting CS Departments with their broadening participation efforts, we focus on fostering an asset-minded approach to strategic planning. This approach is grounded in the rich framework of asset mapping that is widely used in community development efforts. Our presentation will provide an overview of asset mapping and the asset-based mindset as a foundation for promoting significant and sustainable improvements in the recruitment, retention, and development of diverse students in STEM undergraduate programs.

Each institutional context presents a rich set of resources, individuals, and programs that, when properly identified and leveraged, can substantially bolster departmental efforts to broaden participation. By creating and examining an asset map resources can be targeted to build on existing efforts rather than create redundancies. Similarly, utilizing an asset- minded approach ensures that the best available expertise is brought to bear by illuminating existing expertise and encouraging inclusion and connectivity. Asset-based thinking enhances morale as well by nurturing collaboration and helping to break down “silos” that may occur unintentionally. In their place communities of practice, networks, and partnerships can flourish.

This presentation will provide a structure for thinking about comprehensively about assets. Additionally, we will present specific examples for faculty and departments engaging in strategic recruitment and retention practices for how to utilize asset-based thinking to expand their efforts and enhance their impacts.

  1. Dr. Adrienne Ann Smith Cynosure Consulting [biography]
  2. Dr. Rebecca A. Zulli Cynosure Consulting
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