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Project Portal to Success in Engineering

This project was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and was featured in the August 2010 FIPSE newsletter (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) . This exciting, innovative program was designed to:

  • promote academic excellence and student achievement;
  • develop mathematical, analytical, and research skills;
  • and prepare students to transfer to bachelor’s degree programs in engineering.

Did you know that more than 46% of all professional engineers nationwide have attended community colleges?  Montgomery College has one of the largest and most successful engineering programs at the community college level in the U.S.

Montgomery College’s science and engineering department was awarded a three-year, $471,142 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to boost the numbers of women and minorities at the College who pursue engineering degrees.

Though more than 46% of all professional engineers nationwide have attended community colleges, there is a lack of documented strategies that target women and minority engineering students.

To address the national call for doubling the number of graduates in engineering by 2015, the grant, “Project Portal to Success in Engineering,” is based on the premise that competency in mathematics is necessary for success in engineering curricula. Students will receive specialized support in mathematics courses with an emphasis on understanding the use of technology and mathematics.

Mentoring, academic coaching, and supplemental instruction will be provided in other key “gateway courses” in engineering, physics, and chemistry. Undergraduate research will be an integral part of the program in order to prepare students to transfer to four-year engineering programs.

“The FIPSE grant allows us to expand the ‘best practices’ that promote student success to a wider group of students,” said Muhammad Kehnemouyi, Chair of the Engineering department. “The old national paradigm was to use mathematics and science courses to weed out students from engineering programs. At Montgomery College, we are committed to a new paradigm to help students succeed in these key courses so that they can complete engineering majors.”

The grant’s goals include an increase in minority and women transfers to four-year engineering programs during the grant period and the implementation of a model engineering education transition program comprising secondary education, community college, and four-year college/university collaboration in the outreach and teaching efforts at the local high school level; inquiry-based instructional methods; a variety of student support systems, including extensive career and transfer advising, peer support, and collaborative learning; structured program articulations between two-year and four-year colleges and universities; and professional development opportunities for faculty.

The project was under the direction of Principal Investigator, Dr. Muhammad Kehnemouyi, Instructional Dean for Science, Engineering, and Technology. For more information, please contact Dr. Kehnemouyi at 240-567-4406 or