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General Trends In Engineering Education Support The Participation Of Women

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Trends in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.641.1 - 13.641.11



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Paper Authors


Joye Jepson Antioch University

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At the time this paper was written, Letha Joye Jepson was a student in Antioch University's Ph.D. Program in Leadership and Change. The research reported herein contributed to one of two required Individualized Learning Area projects. Joye is a computer engineer with The Boeing Company.

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Norman Fortenberry National Academy of Engineering

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Norman Fortenberry is the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) at the National Academy of Engineering. CASEE is a collaborative effort dedicated to achieving excellence in engineering education--education that is effective, engaged, and efficient. CASEE pursues this goal by promoting research on, innovation in, and diffusion of effective models of engineering education.

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

General Trends in Engineering Education Support the Participation of Women


This paper summarizes major trends identified in engineering education based upon an analysis of several influential reports published within the past 15 years as well as a synthesis of articles published within the past 5 years. Because of technological advances as well as the globalization of businesses, economies and cultures in the twenty-first century, the importance of engineering disciplines and education has reached a critical state and prompted several examinations within the past few years. Although numerous studies and research on changing or restructuring engineering education have been conducted over the last century, many findings have remained the same over time, such as (a) what to include in the curricula, (b) how long engineering education should be, (c) what level of specialization, (d) how to prepare students, and (e) how to meet the needs of society. The trends in engineering education that we found to be most prevalent in reviewed reports and articles are increased attention to (1) curricular flexibility, (2) continuous learning by students, and (3) diversity in engineering education. Additionally, key themes identified in our review of the literature on women in engineering focused on (1) historical male-domination of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, (2) the need for intervention programs for women and minorities to keep their interest in STEM fields and (3) the need for educational system changes to include both curriculum and faculty role-models and influence. In this paper we show how it appears that the trends in engineering education are in line with and supportive of the themes underlying the types of changes needed to draw more women into engineering.

Background and Methods

This paper is the product of one of two required Individualized Learning Area projects that are part of the Antioch University Ph.D. program in Leadership and Change. The goals, strategies and activities used were as follows: a) Perform background reading on major trends in engineering education by reviewing documents available from the National Academy of Engineering, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the National Science Foundation. b) Review articles published since January 2003 in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering (JWMSE) and the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) in order to identify broad what works to enhance the education of women in engineering. c) From the readings performed, relate the identified trends in engineering education to those strategies and methodologies found to be effective in the education of women in engineering.


Studies have shown that women and minority students still do not achieve degrees in STEM at the same rate as their white male counterparts.[1,3,4,6,8,13,16,21,25,29,30,32,40,41,42,43,51,52] There is a need

Jepson, J., & Fortenberry, N. (2008, June), General Trends In Engineering Education Support The Participation Of Women Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3651

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