The purpose of the National Society of Black Engineers’ Academic Retention Program is to improve the four-year and five-year graduation rates of Blacks in the field of engineering and improve overall academic confidence and performance through focus areas. The NSBE Academic Retention Program will serve as an umbrella for four programmatic components (Technical and Professional Skills Workshops; Mentorship; Study Halls and Semester Check-Ins; and Mental Health Awareness) designed for all collegiate students.  

The graphic below outlines the NSBE Academic Retention Program for undergraduate students. From the freshmen year, leading into the student’s senior year, there are different aims to help them advance their careers as well as improve their academic performance. This program starts by seeking to increase the number of first-year prospective students who successfully matriculate into a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) major for their sophomore year. It ends with successfully matching students with professional mentors, to help the students get a job in a STEM-related field. 

Components and Objectives

The four programmatic components that make up the Academic Retention Program are Technical and Professional Skills Workshops; Mentorship; Study Halls and Semester Check-Ins; and Mental Health Awareness. The objectives of each component are listed below.

Technical and Professional Skills Workshops that lead to:

  • Relevant Professional Development (i.e., resume editing, interview skills, professional writing, and networking)
  • Increased knowledge of the professional environment
  • Improved efficiency in internships and research opportunities

Academic Mentoring Relationships that lead to:

  • Better course planning
  • Increased knowledge of academic career building opportunities
  • Better knowledge of academic resources

Study Halls that lead to:

  • Increased homework and higher test scores
  • Increased conceptual gain of material
  • Better retention of material long term

Semester Check-In workshops that lead to:

  • Better study and time management skills
  • Better project management skills
  • Stress management
  • Academic goal setting
  • Increased academic confidence

 Mental Health Awareness workshops that lead to:

  • Increased awareness of the mental health continuum
  • Reducing the stigma associated with mental illness
  • Promoting help-seeking behaviors and emotional well-being practices


National Academic Excellence Committee

The National Academic Excellence chair is the primary contact for the development and implementation of the NSBE Academic Retention Program. The National Academic Excellence (AEx) Committee is committed to helping you begin, maintain and develop the NSBE Academic Retention Program at your chapter. Throughout the year, the National AEx Committee will be working to develop resources, collect data and gather feedback to make the program as effective as possible.

 Please note that this committee includes your regional Academic Excellence chair. If you have any questions regarding program implementation, please contact your regional Programs or Academic Excellence chair directly. You may also contact the National AEx chair at

Minority Engineering Programs/Academic Affairs Director

Involvement of your school’s  minority engineering programs (MEP) director and/or academic affairs director will be an essential factor in successful implementation of the Academic Retention Program. An Institution’s MEP/academic affairs director is key to understanding the performance of Black engineering students, understanding their performance metrics and providing supportive resources for program execution. If your institution does not have an MEP director, NSBE can help you identify appropriate resources in your institution.

Program Registration

A chapter must register each year of participation in the NSBE Academic Retention Program. This ensures that the flow of information may occur through NSBE’s chapter, regional and national leadership by maintaining updated contact information. Returning chapters and chapters new to the program can complete the sign-up by Sept. 26 of the current year to remain active. After Dec. 31, that chapter will be considered inactive until the registration is completed.

To participate in the Graduate Retention Program, there is a section on the form where you can indicate that your chapter will participate.

Chapter Retention Registration

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