June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Women in Engineering
11.1445.1 - 11.1445.9
What Women Want: Female-Friendly Faculty Recruitment
Much of the economic vitality and the quality of life we enjoy as a nation is a direct result of the inspiration and innovation of scientists and engineers. Our future well-being appears to be even more dependent on technological advances. Where will the workforce be developed that will continue to fuel this growth? Science and engineering (S&E) enrollments have remained relatively stagnant for the past 20 years. If this trend continues, what will happen to the economy? The authors recognize the need to increase overall enrollments in S&E fields, and the opportunity to increase enrollments by attracting and retaining students from underrepresented demographic population groups. Women represent over half the nation’s population and nearly half of the undergraduate enrollment, yet are dramatically underrepresented in the technical and academic community. Increasing participation of underrepresented groups in S&E will not only increase the available technical workforce, but will also interject ideas and viewpoints inherent with increased diversity. The development of a diverse faculty will provide mentors and role models to attract and support an increasingly diverse student body that otherwise might not pursue a technical career. To create an academic culture that promotes diversity and equity within the faculty and administration and that provides a supportive environment and appropriate mentors and role models for an increasingly diverse student body has become Boise State University’s priority. This paper includes data on our university’s representation of women faculty in science and engineering, including measurable progress in recent years that places us above the national norm. Additionally, we provide focus group results on climate for female science and engineering faculty and describe what has led not only to successful searches but also to unsuccessful ones. In this way changes in policies, procedures and perceptions during faculty recruitment are focused most effectively.
A panel discussion on Professional Development and Women Faculty was held in June 2005 at the American Society for Engineering Education annual conference in Portland.1 Engineering faculty panelists, including the authors, shared how they as women navigated pathways in successful academic careers. During the discussion period, a young woman from the audience declared, “I chose to have a family instead.” Implicit in her remarks was the presumption that the barriers and drawbacks of academic tenure outweigh the benefits and opportunities.
Perhaps a non academic position is the best choice for this young woman’s life goals. Or perhaps she is giving up her dream to advance scientific knowledge through innovative research or her dream to deliver excellent teaching that nurtures students and workforce leaders. The exclusion in academia of talented women and others from underrepresented groups does disservice to our nation’s scientific potential and economic and social interests. Business leaders in the United States have warned that a shortage of skilled technology workers will threaten their ability to compete in the global market, and that the lack of women and minorities in technology fields exacerbates the shortage.2
Schrader, C., & Callahan, J., & Moll, A. (2006, June), What Women Want: Female Friendly Faculty Recruitment Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1386
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015