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Engineering Faculty Members’ Discussing the Role of University Policy in Addressing Underrepresentation

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.626.1 - 26.626.6



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Paper Authors


Kacey D Beddoes Oregon State University

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Kacey Beddoes is a Research Associate in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University. She received her PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech, along with graduate certificates in Women’s and Gender Studies and Engineering Education. She serves as Managing Editor of Engineering Studies and Assistant Editor of the Global Engineering Series at Morgan & Claypool Publishers. Her current research interests include gender in engineering education research, interdisciplinarity, peer review, engineers’ epistemologies, and global engineering education.

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Engineering Faculty Members’ Discussions of the Role of Policy in Addressing UnderrepresentationDespite over thirty years of research and outreach to recruit and retain female engineeringstudents, women remain significantly underrepresented in engineering. One definingcharacteristic of prior research and outreach efforts aimed at addressing underrepresentation isthat they focus on students. Progress in diversity research now requires new research approachesthat focus on faculty, rather than students. Faculty pedagogy and interactions have been shown toplay a significant role in students’ decisions to leave STEM majors, and female students inparticular report experiencing negative classroom interactions. However, no research has beendone to characterize what and how a large group of engineering faculty members thinks aboutgender in engineering education. There is a critical need to identify what and how facultymembers think about gender so that effective interventions can be designed to target those waysof thinking, and, ultimately, increase gender equity in engineering education.This paper begins to addresses that gap in research by presenting findings on how a group of 45engineering faculty members from three different institutions discuss policy in interviews aimedat understanding what and how engineering faculty members think about gender and women’sunderrepresentation in engineering. The interviews were conducted in Fall 2014. The centralquestions addressed in this analysis are: • To what extent do policies come into play when engineering professors discuss underrepresentation? • What roles do they see policy playing in women’s underrepresentation in engineering?Implications of the findings for engineering educators interested in policy issues are discussed.

Beddoes, K. D. (2015, June), Engineering Faculty Members’ Discussing the Role of University Policy in Addressing Underrepresentation Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23964

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