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Leaning into Engineering: Tenured Women Faculty and the Policies and Programs that Support Them

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session - Understanding and Improving Female Faculty Experiences in STEM

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topics

Diversity, ASEE Diversity Committee, and Engineering Deans Council

Page Count

51

DOI

10.18260/p.25529

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25529

Download Count

284

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Paper Authors

biography

Deborah Ilana Karpman University of California San Diego

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Deborah Karpman currently works as an administrator at the University of California San Diego in the Office of Research Affairs coordinating limited submission opportunities. Prior to that, she directed the planning and coordination of efforts to increase the external recognition of faculty in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation (UCLA, 2015), “Leaning into Engineering: Tenured Women Faculty and the Policies and Programs That Support Them” explored the challenges that female engineering faculty faced in their careers, as well as the institutional policies and programs (i.e. family-friendly policies, diversity/equity programs, mentoring initiatives, etc.) that helped them to be successful in obtaining tenure.

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Abstract

Leaning into Engineering: Tenured Women Faculty and the Policies and Programs That Support Them

While researchers have documented the barriers that women in engineering programs face (i.e. gender bias, work/family conflict, “dual career” issues, limited access to information networks), few studies examine the experiences of successful women faculty and the challenges they overcame in their career. This study filled that gap by utilizing qualitative methods to investigate the life stories of tenured women faculty in engineering. The participants in this study were female tenured associate and full professors at three doctoral research universities in the United States. This study sought to understand the challenges that female engineering faculty faced in their careers, as well as the institutional policies and programs (i.e. family-friendly policies, diversity/equity programs, mentoring initiatives, etc.) that helped them to be successful in obtaining tenure. The stories of the twenty-one tenured female engineering professors in this study depict the unique experiences that women faculty face as a gender minority in academic engineering programs. By situating this study within the context of three selective doctoral granting institutions, this study was unique in that it uncovered how institutional processes and programs directly influenced the success of women faculty in engineering. Although women at all three universities faced similar challenges including gender bias, work/family conflict, and the “two-body problem,” interviewees’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the policies and programs differed significantly by site. This study provided insights into how women faculty perceive many of these programs as well as the factors that influence the decision to utilize the policies that were implemented to support women faculty in engineering. In addition, this study provided recommendations based on the research findings that address best practices related to family-friendly policies, combating “flexibility stigma,” leadership development, and novel strategies related improving the effectiveness of informal and formal mentoring.

Karpman, D. I. (2016, June), Leaning into Engineering: Tenured Women Faculty and the Policies and Programs that Support Them Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25529

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