Bridge Courses

Technology bridge courses improve retention of women and minorities by boosting technical building-block skills.

Learn the questions to ask when developing a bridge program in your school.

Source:

Jenkins, Davis, "Bridge Program Planning Guide", Workforce Strategy Center, 2004, 5 pp.

More than three-quarters of women who took an introductory spatial skills course were retained, compared to 48% of the women who didn't take the course. Find out what worked at one College of Engineering. See also the Spatial Reasoning Software developed by author Sheryl Sorby.

Source:

Sorby, Sheryl, "Gender Differences in Spatial Reasoning Skills and their Effects on Success," The Michigan Tech Project: Phase 1--Initial Development, Michigan Technological University.

At Pennsylvania State University, an intensive preparation program for minorities in engineering retained 73% of its participants until graduation -- twice the rate of minority students not in the program. Read about the strategies that led to its success.

Source:

Persaud, Anita, Amy L. Freeman, "Creating a Successful Model for Minority Students' Success in Engineering: The PREF Summer Bridge Program," WEPAN / NAMEPA 2005 Joint National Conference.

A two-hour workshop on spatial reasoning with accompanying visualization software completely eliminated significant gender differences in spatial reasoning abilities among a group of University of California at Berkeley engineering students.

Source:

Copyright © 1995 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Reprinted from, Agogino, A.M. and S. Hsi, "Learning Style Based Innovations to Improve Retention of Female Engineering Students in the Synthesis Coalition," (Engineering Education for the 21st Century: Proceedings of Frontiers in Education, FIE'95, ASEE/IEEE, pp. 4a2.). This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the products or services of the Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS). Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.

A summer program at the University of New Mexico used techniques such as small group instruction to improve mathematics scores. By the end of the class, nearly two-thirds of the participants had raised their algebra scores by 15%.

Source:

Ami, Carlon G., "The Effects of a Four Week Summer Bridge Program," University of New Mexico, 2001 6 pp.

For a class of university students studying robotics, hands-on experience led to a 48% jump in women’s confidence levels and a performance equal to male students in pre- and post-tests.

Source:

Copyright © 2002 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Reprinted from, Milto Elissa, Chris Rogers, and Merredith Portsmore, "Gender Differences in Confidence Levels, Group Interactions, and Feelings About Competition in an Introductory Robotics Course," Paper presented at 2002 ASEE/IEEE Engineering Education Conference. This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the products or services of the Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS). Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.

The mostly female student body at Bronx Community College is very low income; the majority of students qualify for financial aid. Short, intensive courses in basic skills combined with student support significantly improved their grades and retention.

Source:

Finkelstein, Jason A., "Maximizing Retention for At-Risk Freshmen: The Bronx Community College Model," 2002.

A four-day summer program for freshman female engineering students at Arizona State University led to improved retention rates of participants: 70% to 80%, compared with 60% for women not in the program.

Source:

Fletcher, Shawna, Dana Newell, Leyla Newton, Mary Anderson-Rowland, "The WISE Summer Bridge Program: Assessing Student Attrition, Retention, and Program Effectiveness," Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition.