J. Sonnenberg-Klein, R. T. Abler, and E. J. Coyle, “Diversity and Student Persistence in the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) Course Sequence,” presented at the 2018 Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD), 2018.


Diversity and Student Persistence in the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) Course Sequence
While historically underserved students derive differentially greater benefits from participation in research with faculty, they engage in the activity at lower rates than their peers. In contrast to the national trend, the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology enrolls representative proportions of Black/African American students and Hispanic/Latino students with respect to the campus population. This study examines student persistence in the VIP course sequence with respect to race and ethnicity. The VIP model is unique, in that it fully engages faculty; is cost effective, building on existing faculty research interests and efforts; and is fully scalable, with the potential to serve every student at a given institution. The model has been adopted by 24 institutions of varying sizes and varying levels of research activity, including large research institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. The VIP implementation at Georgia Tech is not tailored to serve specific subgroups, but aims to serve all students. With current enrollments of 900 students each semester and continued growth, serving every student is a realistic possibility. This paper examines student persistence in the VIP course sequence, and provides an overview of the VIP Program, including common elements across VIP sites, prior research on student interactions within teams by race/ethnicity, and aspects of the Georgia Tech implementation of VIP which may contribute to student diversity within the program. Findings indicate that students of different races and ethnicities persist in the VIP course sequence at equal rates.