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Peer Mentoring For Untenured Women Faculty: A Leadership Skills And Community Building Workshop

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Women in Engineering: A Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.915.1 - 7.915.9



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Paper Authors

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Peg Boyle Single

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Naomi Chesler

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Borjana Mikic

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

Main Menu Session 3592

Peer-Mentoring for Untenured Women Faculty: The Leadership Skills and Community-Building Workshop Naomi C. Chesler, Borjana M. Mikic, Peg Boyle Single

University of Vermont/Smith College/University of Vermont


Peer mentoring is a promising strategy for improving the presence, retention and advancement of women faculty members in engineering. Strategies for maintaining and increasing the representation of women faculty members in engineering departments may also increase the retention of female students pursuing engineering careers. As a first step toward providing peer- mentoring for untenured women faculty members, an Outward Bound-based Leadership Skills and Community-Building Workshop was held in August 2001. Participants included 14 untenured women faculty in engineering (including two of the organizers/authors), a psychologist (the third organizer/author), and one invited senior woman faculty member in engineering. Based on post-workshop participant reflections, significant positive impact on participants’ informational, psychosocial and instrumental well-being was achieved. All attendees noted that the inclusion of a senior woman engineering faculty member greatly enhanced the value of the workshop. The peer-mentoring network that resulted from the Leadership Skills and Community-Building Workshop is providing affirmative opportunities for exchanging professional advice and support for participants in the short-term. Preliminary evidence suggests that these new skills and perspectives, as well as post-workshop peer- mentoring, will contribute to longer-term success in academe for the participating women faculty members in engineering.

I. Introduction In 1999, women represented approximately 10% of the engineering workforce.1 The representation of women engineers in higher education is even more sobering. Data from 1997 show that of employees at four-year colleges and universities with doctorate degrees in engineering, less than 7% were women.2 Of the engineering faculty nationwide in 1991, 7% of Assistant Professors were women, 3% of Associate Professors were women and only 1% of Full Professors were women.3 At a time when academic departments in engineering and computer science are losing talent to industry,4 women remain an important and largely untapped labor force for teaching and supporting the next generation of engineers and computer scientists. With such low numbers, the potential for women faculty being isolated and left out of informal mentoring and support networks, is significant.5 While our primary concern is with supporting and promoting women engineering faculty members, a secondary benefit could be the influence on the female students these faculty members instruct. In 1998, women graduates of engineering programs represented just 18.6 % of the undergraduate, 20.3 % of the masters and 12.3% of the doctoral degrees in the U.S.6 One

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education Main Menu

Boyle Single, P., & Chesler, N., & Mikic, B. (2002, June), Peer Mentoring For Untenured Women Faculty: A Leadership Skills And Community Building Workshop Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11003

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