June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Women in Engineering
13.339.1 - 13.339.13
Creating a Comprehensive Women in Engineering Organization using a Managed Resource Strategy
According to Margaret Mead, “A small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.” This paper describes such a “group” consisting of engineering college professors, administrators, and students who together create a dynamic organization aimed at increasing the representation of women within the engineering workforce. Although women serve as the target audience, the group of “committed citizens” consists of women and men with similar intrinsic motivators. In 2004, the team launched a new organization called WE@RIT (or Women in Engineering at RIT) and within a few months hosted their first pre-engineering outreach program aimed at an audience of twelve 6th and 7th grade girls. Over the past four years, the organization has grown significantly to include outreach activities for females from 4th through 11th grade, the TEAK (or Traveling Engineering Activity Kit) Program and companion website designed for 6th grade classroom use; a comprehensive recruitment strategy for 11th and 12th grade women; and an extensive community building program for current women engineering students. During the 2006/07 academic year, WE@RIT hosted over 1500 participants in their various program offerings with the support of 175 people, most of whom were volunteers.
The organization and its programming flourish using a managed resource strategy in a climate where funding is limited. Student and faculty volunteers and/or student employees perform much of the effort involved in designing and administering various programs. A unique leadership structure allows a faculty member through work plan adjustment to serve as the program’s executive director while a full-time coordinator handles daily program activities. In order to run the organization using resources effectively, the group created overall program goals with supporting program level objectives as well as program-level objectives. The structure allows the team to assess and evaluate various offerings or the entire program on a regular basis. There are few, if any, features of the organizational structure and resource management scheme that are school/region specific, and therefore elements of this organization and its management strategy are transferable. This paper describes a strategy that allows for deliberate organizational growth under limited resource conditions in the context of women in engineering.
Organizational History and Background
A group created the WE@RIT (Women in Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology) organization within the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) to address the needs of an engineering workforce that is lacking women leaders and to promote gender diversity within our engineering programs. As the number of retirements in science and engineering and the demand for trained professionals in those fields increases, while enrollment in college degree programs remains steady, our nation may be facing a shortage of scientists and engineers . It is critical to expose young people to the broad range of opportunities within engineering. WE@RIT outreach programs include fun activities that highlight applications of math and science in less traditional areas of engineering thus appealing in particular to women and minorities who seek concrete applications of the abstract math and science concepts they have
Proceedings of the 2008 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2008, American Society for Engineering Education
Bailey, M., & DeBartolo, E., & Mozrall, J., & Olney, J. (2008, June), Creating A Comprehensive Women In Engineering Organization Using A Managed Resource Strategy Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4464
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