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Analysis of the State of Tenure-line Black Engineering Faculty in Research-intensive (R1) Institutions

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 9

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Minorities in Engineering

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Girum Urgessa P.E. George Mason University

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Dr. Girum Urgessa is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering (CEIE) at George Mason University (GMU). He received his MS (2002) and PhD (2006) from the University of New Mexico, and his BS (2000) from Addis Ababa University. Prior to joining GMU, he was a research engineer in the Applied Science Division of Weidlinger Associates (now Thornton Tomasetti) and a structural engineer at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.​His research interests include dynamic response of structures subjected to air-blast, impact, progressive collapse, and underwater explosions; the use of fiber reinforced polymer composites in structural design and retrofit applications; and structural stability of temporary structures. His research has been supported by DoD, ASCE, and ITA. He has taught ten different structural engineering and mechanics courses and received the GMU Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Urgessa is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Maryland.

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The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) dubbed the 2014-2015 academic year as the Year of Action in Diversity. Supporting this significant event and recognizing the urgent need of increasing diversity, deans of engineering schools across the United States signed pledges to act on four major diversity initiatives. One of these initiatives addresses the commitment of developing and implementing proactive strategies for increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minorities within the engineering professoriate. One general measure of success outlined in the pledge is a “notable increase” in diversity in engineering faculty over the next decade. This work-in-progress paper presents preliminary findings from a cross-sectional study of data obtained from the 5-year post-pledge period (2014-2018) focusing on the state of black tenure-line engineering faculty in research-intensive (R1) universities. The main objective of this study is to determine if the engineering professoriate is on a path to see a “notable increase” in the number of black tenure-line engineering faculty, which is needed to notably increase the overall diversity. The main conclusion from this study is that the hiring trend for black tenure-line engineering faculty is only slightly up with a stagnant proportional rate of percentage increase. Some thoughts on the "pipeline problem" narrative and hiring practices are included.

Urgessa, G. (2020, June), Analysis of the State of Tenure-line Black Engineering Faculty in Research-intensive (R1) Institutions Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34146

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