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Increasing The Percentage Of The Female Faculty At The College Of Engineering By Understanding The Reasons For The High Enrollment And Retention Rates Of Female Engineering Undergraduate Students

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Women in Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.753.1 - 10.753.10



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Paper Authors

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Viviana Cesani-Vazquez

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Maria Irizarry

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Freya Toledo-Feria

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Sonia Bartolomei-Suarez

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

Increasing the Percentage of the Female Faculty at the College of Engineering by Understanding the Reasons for the High Enrollment and Retention Rates of Female Engineering Undergraduate Students

Sonia M. Bartolomei-Suárez, Viviana Cesaní-Vázquez, María Irizarry Department of Industrial Engineering

Freya M. Toledo-Feria Department of General Engineering University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez


For the last fifteen years the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) has been noted for the high percentage of female students in its College of Engineering (COE). Current enrollment statistics show that 35% of its students are females, one of the highest rates in the United States. According to the American Association for Science and Engineering Education (ASEE), during the academic year 2002-03, the UPRM engineering program was one of the largest in the nation, ranked number 13 in engineering undergraduate enrollment (4476 students) and number 19 in engineering Bachelor’s degree awarded (710 degrees) [3]. That year, approximately 39% of such degrees were awarded to women ranking UPRM as one of the universities with the highest number of degrees in engineering conferred to women.

During the same academic year (2002-03), the faculty of the COE consisted of 183 professors, of which only 26 were female with tenure or in tenure track, comprising only 14.21% of the faculty.

When that female representation within the faculty of the COE is compared to the success achieved in recruiting and retaining female students at the undergraduate level, a serious concern arise. At the COE there is a bigger pool of potential female candidates for graduate school and academia than in other higher learning systems but this is not reflected in its current faculty composition.

In this paper the reasons for the high enrollment and retention rates of female undergraduate students are investigated and possible courses of action are recommended to the COE in order to increase the percentage of female faculty.


Puerto Rico has a combined public and private system of higher education with an enrollment of over 170,000 students. Of these, over one third is enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico’s (UPR) state multi-campus system. The Mayagüez Campus of the UPR (UPRM), with approximately 12,000 students enrolled, houses the only College of Engineering within the state university system. It offers programs in Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Computer, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering, all accredited by ABET. Master’s programs in all Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Cesani-Vazquez, V., & Irizarry, M., & Toledo-Feria, F., & Bartolomei-Suarez, S. (2005, June), Increasing The Percentage Of The Female Faculty At The College Of Engineering By Understanding The Reasons For The High Enrollment And Retention Rates Of Female Engineering Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14765

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