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Attracting and Retaining Women in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case Study

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

WIED: Medley

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.219.1 - 24.219.7



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Paper Authors

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Ahmed Imran Ajman University of Science & Technology, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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Mohamed Nasor M. Kalil


Fahar Ghalib Hayati Ajman University of Science & Technology

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Professor Fahar Hayati graduated with B.Eng.(Hons) in Electronic Engineering from Sheffield University in 1966. He received his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University in 1971. Since 1969 Professor Hayati has worked both in industry and in university in several countries. With a career stretching over 45 years he made vast contributions as an academic, researcher and consultant. His experience in engineering education extends over a period of more than 30 years.
Professor Hayati has been the Dean of College of Engineering at Ajman University of Science & Technology in the UAE since July 2000.

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Attracting and Retaining Women in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case StudyGender disparities in engineering programs has been a cause of concern globally. Suchdisparities can lead to inequalities in professions with related social effects. In this case study, wehave analyzed 10-year data of students admitted to undergraduate programs in electrical andbiomedical engineering in the academic years 2001–2010. A gender based statistical analysis was carried out for fresh intake, retention, attrition andcompletion. Major changes were introduced in the programs from the academic year 2006-07.The differences observed before and after the changes were also analyzed. The data waspresented as percentage of admitted students. Analysis was carried out until the 1st semester ofthe academic year 2013-14.During the 10-year period, cumulative intake comprised 34% women. Although, the total intakein the year 2010 was reduced by 17% of that in the year 2001, in comparison, the percentage ofwomen increased from 19% in 2001 to 29% in 2010 of the respective total intake.Cumulative retention from all the admitted students over the 10-year period was 57%. Theretention among women was 65% compared to 54% among men. Further, among both, womenand men, 73% of the attrition took place in the first three semesters following admission.While 43% of the admitted students have completed their programs, 14% from the recent years’intake are continuing. 52% women and 39% men have completed their respective programs.As major changes were introduced in the programs starting 2006, a comparison of the womengroup before and after the changes are as follows.During 2001-2005, the women comprised 33% of the total intake. 55% of the women wereretained and completed their respective programs.During 2006-2010, the women comprised 35% of the total intake. 50% of the women havecompleted, 27% (mostly from the recent intake) are continuing, while 23% have aborted.The analysis in this case study suggests that the percentage of women in the engineeringprograms has increased during 2001 to 2010. Percent retention and completion was higher in thegroup of women than in the group of men. Introduction of changes in the programs enhancedstudent retention. Further, attrition of students is a cause of concern in both groups, particularlyin the early years of study.

Imran, A., & Kalil, M. N. M., & Hayati, F. G. (2014, June), Attracting and Retaining Women in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case Study Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20110

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