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Faculty and Graduate Student Gender Diversity in Research Universities: Challenges and Opportunities Cristina Amon Carnegie Mellon University WEPAN Pittsburgh, June 12, 2006
Some Statistics http: //www. jhu. edu/news_info/news/home 04/sep 04/nsfgr ant. html • Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are 23% of U. S. population but only 6% of engineering labor force • Black women account for 0. 6% of science, engineering and technology work force. For Hispanic women, the figure is 0. 4% • In academia, men are five times more likely than women to choose engineering as their major. In 1998, of the bachelor's degrees awarded to women, only 1. 7% were in engineering
Statistics - BS degrees in Engineering • Female BS degrees have been ~ constant; male decreased • Many undergraduates who initially major in engineering do not stay through graduation • In 2001, retention rate for white students was 62%; among minority students, it was only 38% NSF Data -- female ~ 21 %
Doctoral degrees in Engineering NSF Data -- female ~ 17 %
Senior Engineering Faculty (Full and Associate Profs) Senior engineering faculty is ~93% male, which may be a factor in why many women and minorities often report feeling marginalized; being tokens NSF Data -- female < 7 %
Junior Engineering Faculty (Assist Profs and Lecturers) NSF Data -- female ~ 17%
Total Engineering Faculty NSF Data -- female < 11%
Status – Problem Definition to Solution Paths We have moved: • From defining the problem and arguing whether a problem exists to acknowledging it and thinking of possible solutions – great and needed first step • From thinking of this as an individual’s “problem” to possibilities for institutional transformation – starting with attitudes and anecdotes such as “girls can’t do math”, there has been systematic research on the underlying social and institutional factors; we have begun to address them.
Status – Problem Definition to Solution Paths • From being a “grassroots movement” with mostly women scholars and activists looking at the problem to institutional leaders taking up the challenge of inclusion. • In the current phase, institutions, especially some research universities and their leadership and Presidents, have taken on the challenge -- this is promising! However, despite efforts, progress has been slow. . . Research Universities lead in setting agendas for choice of problems to address. . . And therefore it’s important to get enough representation in these.
Challenges Increase number of students in Engineering and S&E • Early socialization and expectations, including children’s perceptions of men’s and women’s careers; tinkering in play • Academic counseling and course-taking patterns; dropping math early Retain students in Engineering and S&E • College --being only one in classes, labs; not speaking out -here is where women’s colleges have been shown to graduate disproportionate numbers in science. . . • Lack of mentoring and role models; of networks
Challenges (con’t) Pipeline leakage: From BS to Ph. D • As industry has been more proactive in recruiting women, many women engineers choose a career path that is not to Ph. D and research universities – this exacerbates some of the above problems From Ph. D to academia • Trying to maintain balance between family and work; critical time after Ph. D to build research track record, obtain tenure … –as well as critical time to start a family! this affects grad studies and faculty tracks particularly!
Opportunities Institutional transformation has begun • Several presidents (Chuck Vest and Jared Cohon among others) have made –diversity – a priority and have instituted accountability measures at their institutions. – e. g. , at CMU, departmental annual reports and Advisory Board reports have to provide data on the state of diversity and what efforts are being made. .
Opportunities (con’t) Some programs such as NSF’s ADVANCE are intentionally designed to promote institutional transformation. Example, in 2004, Dean Ilene Busch-Vishniac, Johns Hopkins, revamped the engineering curriculum with a NSF grant to “increase the links between fundamentals and applications, and between technical and non-technical topics, streamline the path to the degree by eliminating artificial prerequisites, introduce team experiences into all courses and foster a climate of inclusion rather than exclusion. ” (http: //www. jhu. edu/news_info/news/home 04/sep 04/nsfgrant. html)
Opportunities (con’t) • Increasing number of engineering Deans, Provosts and Presidents at research universities are women – this helps promote both climate change and change perceptions of all! – 22 Women are engineering Deans and 7 female engineers or scientists are university Presidents; some recently became Provosts.
Summary • Acknowledge diversity problem and institutional efforts • Progress has been made in increasing gender diversity in Faculty and Graduate Students in Research Universities • However, number of female BS in Engineering has remained constant and there is a constant pipeline leakage from BS to Ph. D and Ph. D to academia • Progress has been much slower regarding Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans
BS degrees in Engineering NSF Data -- female ~ 21 %