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Gender Representation In Architectural Engineering – Is It All In The Name?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Instructional Innovations in Architectural Engineering Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.613.1 - 15.613.8



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Paper Authors


Pamalee Brady California Polytechnic State University

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Pamalee A. Brady is an Associate Professor in the Architectural Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She is a registered Professional Engineer in California. Pamalee Brady received a B.S. degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly, M.S. in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering from the University of Illinois. Her research interests focus on engineering education incorporating forensic engineering and STEM education for K-12 students.

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Allen Estes California Polytechnic State University

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Allen C. Estes is a Professor and Head for the Architectural Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Until January 2007, Dr. Estes was the Director of the Civil Engineering Program at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Al Estes received a B.S. degree from USMA in 1978, M.S. degrees in Structural Engineering and in Construction Management from Stanford University in 1987 and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997.

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

Gender Representation in Architectural Engineering – Is it all in the name?


Under-representation of women in engineering is of concern as the decreasing supply of qualified engineers continues to plague the nation’s advancement. Understanding what factors influence choices of engineering disciplines has the potential for altering education to accommodate a more diverse student body that can be successful in engineering. University statistics reflect that the Architectural Engineering program at this school is comprised of 35% women, while the other engineering programs attract at best 20% women and at worst 5% women. The Architectural Engineering program at this university is in fact one of the most intense structural engineering programs in the country requiring 203 quarter units to complete and upper division courses in integrated design of buildings using concrete, steel, wood and masonry along with seismic design of buildings. The department is however housed in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design rather than the College of Engineering. This overall research study explores the learning styles of different engineering disciplines and the learning styles preferred by students who select these disciplines as academic majors and careers.

The work in progress centers on surveys of students in engineering programs at this university. A preliminary survey of women in the ARCE department was administered to discover why these women personally chose ARCE as a major, why they persist in the major, and why they think women are so largely represented in the major. A more detailed survey will follow from this work which specifically investigates the three components of the integrated learning style taxonomy – motivation, engagement and learning processes of both women and men in the ARCE department. Future work will investigate other engineering disciplines that represent maximum differential in representation of women from that of ARCE at this university as well as engineering programs at other universities.


The study is based on a broad definition of learning style as a combination of learner motivation, engagement and mental processing habits as proposed by Curry1. In this research we hypothesize: ≠ There is a correlation between learning style measures and different engineering disciplines. ≠ Preferred learning styles are related to engineering discipline selection. ≠ Learning styles of engineering education and engineering practice both influence gender preference for discipline.

This paper presents the demographic data that initiated the study, documents the results of the preliminary survey and discusses the scope of the more detailed survey to be administered to students in engineering majors.

Brady, P., & Estes, A. (2010, June), Gender Representation In Architectural Engineering – Is It All In The Name? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16256

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