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Building Gender Equity Into Existing Programs: Perspectives From Professional Engineering Associations

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.332.1 - 12.332.7



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Paper Authors

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Amy Bentow American Society of Mechanical Engineers

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Richard Blais Project Lead the Way

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Laura Bottomley Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

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Catherine Didion National Academy of Engineering

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Norman Fortenberry National Academy of Engineering

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Christina Vogt National Academy of Engineering

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Building Gender Equity into Existing Programs: Perspectives from Professional Engineering Associations Abstract

The Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will examine how engineering associations can successfully integrate principles of gender equity into their existing programs. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) are part of CASEE’s Engineering Equity Extension Service (EEES) project that is a comprehensive research-based effort to enhance gender equity in engineering education programs. The goal of EEES is to increase the number of women who graduate from baccalaureate engineering programs. The panel, which includes members of ASME, IEEE, and PLTW, will share their experiences working within their organizations to incorporate gender research into a variety of programs provided for their members. They will discuss why gender equity is important to their organization and provide details on how they have transformed some of their programs using gender research. Examples of programs that will be discussed include the review of outreach programs developed by associations for their members to visit local schools; the inclusion of gender sensitivity into teacher training; and how to engage senior leaders of associations in their efforts. In addition, a representative of NAE will provide information on how an electronic clearinghouse (the Virtual Support Network or VSN) has been an effective tool in the dissemination of information to members of the engineering associations and has a facilitated collaboration as well as provided web-based resources and training. The panel will provide a forum for sharing effective mechanisms for incorporating gender equity into existing programs. Panelists will focus on examples that are relevant to the engineering education community and can easily be replicated.


The purpose of the Gender Equity Extension Service Project is to increase the enrollment, retention, and graduation of women as baccalaureate-level engineers. The Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is leading NAE’s effort on this project. In 2005 19% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States were awarded to women.i NAE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) are working together to provide training to their members. Each collaborating organization has chosen a targeted population for training. ASME is focusing on mechanical engineering faculty and what they can do to retain students in their programs. IEEE is working with volunteer members and concentrating on their outreach activities to pre-college students and how they can better engage all students in their projects. PLTW is working with their master teachers and equipping them to help PLTW teachers encourage diverse students to consider pre-college engineer courses.

The training for each organization focuses on how more female students can be encouraged and retained in their programs. The integrative approach to training should work well, not only for female students, but for all students. This training is designed to engage many traditional players in the engineering community and to work within existing structures to increase gender equity in a variety of current programs. The training methods and results will be disseminated by a variety of Web-based tools. The Gender Equity Extension Service is unusual in that it brings expertise in both gender studies and research on science and engineering education to bear on the academic preparation of students from middle school to the sophomore year of college. The project will also assess the impact of in-class social environments and instructional styles on the attrition of female

Bentow, A., & Blais, R., & Bottomley, L., & Didion, C., & Fortenberry, N., & Vogt, C. (2007, June), Building Gender Equity Into Existing Programs: Perspectives From Professional Engineering Associations Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2550

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