July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Women in Engineering
In the spring of 2020 after several years of declining student engagement, we undertook a survey of undergraduate women engineering students to better understand their reasons for engaging with the women in engineering program; to understand their top concerns as women studying engineering, and to find the best ways to communicate with these women. Though the survey allowed us to broadly answer some of these questions and to align current student behavior with that being demonstrated nationally among Gen Z students, qualitative follow up was necessary. In the mid spring semester of 2020, three focus groups were carried out with current engineering students. In particular, we wanted to better understand why gender concerns consistently ranked at or near the bottom of current student concerns across all engineering years and majors in the earlier spring survey; to understand how an event-driven organization like WE@RIT could aid in addressing the students’ primary concern of succeeding in their engineering curriculum and providing academic support; and better understand how email, text messages and student social networks could be leveraged to effectively market programming. Concurrently, we held contextual interviews with several campus clubs and programs to ascertain if student co-curricular engagement was declining across the board and if any broad conclusions on student engagement trends could be reached. What resulted was a nuanced understanding of why engagement for current student programs is declining with women in engineering in particular, an understanding of trends driving engagement in the broader campus community, and a plan to communicate with these students and integrate their voice into current student programming to improve student engagement going forward.
Ehrlich-Scheffer, K. (2021, July), Understanding Gen Z’s Declining Engagement with WE@RIT, a Woman in Engineering Program Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37958
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