June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Women in Engineering
26.756.1 - 26.756.20
Factoring Family Considerations into Female Faculty Choices for International Engagement in Engineering, IT, and Computer ScienceIn the 21th century, participation in the global economy is a necessity for a successful science orengineering career. Advances in cyberinfrastructure and telecommunication have enhanced theability of faculty and students to engage in transnational scholarship. However, as internationalcollaborations in research continue to increase, it is important to consider how such changes mayinfluence the diversity of the STEM workforce. The globalization of research activity coupledwith the understanding of the importance of a diverse STEM workforce promotes the need tosupport diverse groups of researchers engaging in international collaborations.In this paper, we describe the results of a National Science Foundation project focused onexploring international engagement through the experiences of 15 women faculty and graduatestudents from underrepresented, minority backgrounds. The analysis utilizes a constructivist,hybrid study that paired focus group responses with those generated in an online communityduring an international engineering conference. Participants from the online community provided188 qualitative responses to a series of questions such as “Is there a research benefit to meetingsomeone in person versus using technology to connect?,” and “How did this internationalengagement experience influence your career strategies?”Responses included concerns that are common among women: missing family, finding the timeto travel, and balancing family concerns during the travel (e.g., child-care), course loads,research responsibilities, and financial barriers. However, the discussion included additionalchallenges such as acceptance in an environment where their skin color is completely differentfrom that of the people in the region, and concerns about language or overall communicationbarriers. Responses from the participants suggest that inspiring a culture of internationalengagement among women faculty of color should start early, as undergraduate or graduatestudents. Early training can tackle potential fears of the unknown, increase language skills, andaddress other intercultural competencies. We analyze the concerns, challenges, and barriers tointernational engagement based upon four areas: personal, institutional, external, andsociocultural. The transtheoretical model of change (Prochaska and Velicer, 1997) identifies sixstages that we further examine in the effort to make international engagement more attractive andaccessible for women of color faculty in engineering, computer science, and IT. We adopt thismodel because it includes constructs for producing progress within the context of decision-making, self-efficacy, and temptations. Given that promising practices from the research includeinteractive intervention, our approach to introducing women of color to international engagementwas to involve them in an international engineering conference that included sessions relevant totheir disciplines, a special forum on “Women in STEM,” and cultural activities within the hostcountry. Providing a funded and guided opportunity for global research and collaboration wasimportant for women of color. The participants agreed that this experience was a goodintroduction to, as well as preparation for, international collaborations that can lead to academicadvancement. We propose this model as a potential, replicable solution for addressing the currentlack of participation of women of color in STEM international activities.
Brown, Q., & Tull, R. G., & Medina, L. A., & Holder, M. B., & Medina, Y. (2015, June), Factoring Family Considerations into Female Faculty Choices for International Engagement in Engineering, IT, and Computer Science Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24093
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015