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Texas versus California: Trends in Gender Diversity and Impacts by Engineering Discipline

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1506.1 - 26.1506.11



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Paper Authors


Keith J Bowman Illinois Institute of Technology

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Keith J. Bowman became Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in August, 2011, following nearly five years of experience leading the Purdue School of Materials Engineering as Interim Head and Head. His first faculty appointment was as an Assistant Professor at Purdue University in 1988 after receiving degrees from Case Western Reserve University, (B.S. 1981, M.S. 1983) and the University of Michigan (Ph.D. 1987). He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1992, and then to Professor in 1996. Bowman served as a visiting professor at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany in 1996 and in 2002. He served as a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia in 2003. From 1996 to 2004 he served as graduate program chair of the Purdue School of Materials Engineering (MSE).

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Texas versus California: Trends in Gender Diversity and Impacts by Engineering DisciplineAcross the past decade there has been tremendous growth in Bachelor’s (BS) degreeattainment in US engineering schools coupled with clear challenges towards advancinggender diversity. The two largest US states, Texas and California, both have multiplepublic university systems that educate engineers in accredited programs that includeuniversities with strong reputations. The focus of this assessment is to explore trends ingender diversity for engineering BS degrees produced by public universities in both statesusing ASEE data and other sources. In 2013, California represented about 12 percent ofthe US population and the public systems in California provided an education toapproximately 10 percent of engineering BS degree recipients for that year. In the sameyear, Texas represented about 8 percent of the US population and the public universitysystems in Texas provided an education to approximately 6 percent of the engineering BSdegree recipients. In 2005, the first year wherein detailed data by gender and ethnicitywas collected by ASEE, the gender diversity for the two California public systemsaltogether was about 18.2%. By 2013 this had declined to 17.5%, which lags the overallUS female fraction by 1.6%. For Texas, the female fraction declined from 20.1% in 2005to 17.7%. At first glance, it might appear that this is a fair comparison. It is not. Eachstate has a considerably different mix in engineering disciplines being produced by thepublic systems. For example, Texas publics train nearly as many chemical engineers asthe California publics. And, Texas publics produce about forty percent of US petroleumengineers whereas California publics do not produce petroleum engineers. This paperwill explore the intersection between disciplinary emphases and gender diversity acrossboth states.  

Bowman, K. J. (2015, June), Texas versus California: Trends in Gender Diversity and Impacts by Engineering Discipline Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24843

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