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Retention Of Women And Minority Engineering Educators Is This Important To Our Profession?

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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

Achieving Diversity in the CE Faculty

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.986.1 - 7.986.9



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Norma Mattei

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Session 2515

Retention of Women and Minority Engineering Educators: Is This Important to the Profession?

Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E. University of New Orleans

Abstract: Engineering has typically been a profession dominated by the white male. The undergraduate engineering student population, although more diverse than before, is still not reflective of the demographics of the general population. One way to attract and retain women and minority students is to have a faculty that is diverse (that also consists women and minority educators). However, there are not many women and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates, and these graduates are also courted by industry. How can these graduates be retained as engineering educators? A survey was given to a pool of tenure-track engineering educators and Ph.D. candidates who were also female and/or minority. The results will be presented in this paper.


A quick look at the makeup of engineering faculty in the United States would find that engineering educators are not very diverse in gender or ethnicity. At the same time, many engineering programs are undergoing significant reform. The engineering educator needs to teach increasing amounts of material in a shorter amount of time, raise the student’s skills to a higher level, and teach to a sometimes less prepared student population (Guice, 2001). Add to these pressures the "usual" pressures of acquiring research and funding, publishing scientific articles, service, and acquiring tenure. A graduate student finishing work on an engineering doctorate may not find that academia is a very attractive career choice. In 1997, 12% of the science and engineering doctorates were awarded to women. Blacks earned 3% and Hispanics earned almost 4% of all science and engineering doctorates. Accordingly, the pool of potential female and minority engineering educators is very small. Should it be important to the profession that these female and minority doctoral students be retained in academia as engineering educators? Why? How?

This paper will first explore one reason why it is important to have a diverse engineering faculty. Following this discussion are the results of a survey of female and under-represented engineering educators. The survey questioned these educators about the reasons that they chose engineering as an undergraduate program of study, as a graduate program of study and as a career choice.

"Proceedings of the 2002 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society of Engineering Education"

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Mattei, N. (2002, June), Retention Of Women And Minority Engineering Educators Is This Important To Our Profession? Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10789

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