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Women and Time to Completion of an Engineering Baccalaureate at Texas A&M University

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

WIED Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1695.1 - 22.1695.9



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Paper Authors


Jorja Kimball Texas Engineering Experiment Station

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Jorja Kimball, Ph.D., serves as the Director of Strategic Research Development for the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, a state-wide research agency of the Texas A&M University System. In this capacity she works with institutions of higher education across the state of Texas to strategically develop education and technical research proposals that will bring federal research dollars into Texas. Her office has garnered over $66 million in federal funding since 2003 for educational research, in addition to working with faculty who received individual technical awards, such as the NSF CAREER. Dr. Kimball has a B.B.A. and M.B.A. from Texas A&I University and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Educational Administration (Dissertation: A Study of Engineering Student Attributes and Time to Completion of First Year Required Course at Texas A&M University). She was with the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, Kingsville, A Hispanic Serving Institution, for eight years before her employment with TEES. There she was a Principal Investigator and held a number of leadership positions on projects related to engineering education, such as the $30 million NSF Foundation Coalition for Engineering Education. She also has extensive experience with undergraduate and graduate education, particularly related to underrepresented minorities and women.

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Margaret Hobson Texas A&M University

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Margaret Hobson, Ph.D. serves as an Assistant Director of Strategic Research Development for the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, a state-wide research agency of the Texas A&M University System. Dr. Hobson has a B.S. from Texas Woman’s University and an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Educational Psychology (Dissertation: Teacher Perceptions of Change in Leadership Roles and Activities as a Result of Participation in a Science Education Leadership Program). Her dissertation study was supported by the National Science Foundation project Center for Applications of Information Technology in the Teaching and Learning of Science (ITS Center). Dr. Hobson also has extensive experience in evaluation. Prior to joining TEES, Dr. Hobson taught mathematics and special education in three Texas public school districts between 1976 and 2000.

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Women and time to completion of an Engineering Baccalaureate at Texas A&M University Women are underrepresented among students pursuing and obtaining engineeringbaccalaureate degrees, yet those women who do enroll often are retained and graduate at ratesgreater than their male counterparts. This study builds on the authors’ initial 2006 study thatindicates women enrolled as engineering majors at Texas A&M University completed the initialseries of required coursework at a significantly faster rate than did enrolled males at the .01 level(p= 0.008). This follow-up study uses data from the prior research to examine graduation rates ofengineering students who initially declared one of five engineering majors (Civil, Electrical,Chemical, Mechanical, and Computer), and who completed first-year engineering coursework atTexas A&M University. A cohort graduation study was conducted on 1186 first-time enteringstudents in the Fall 1998 and Fall 1999 cohorts who completed the College of Engineering’s“core body of knowledge”, or CBK – a series of initial coursework for engineering majors. Findings included that of the 1186 students in the 2006 study (1998 and 1999 cohorts) whocompleted CBK and progressed to upper division, 1063 (89.6%) had earned a degree inengineering by Spring 2009. Of these 1186 students, 878 (82.6%) were male and 185 (17.4%)were female, almost exactly the male/female ratio of the original cohorts: 82.4% male and 17.6%female. This discovery contrasts with the national retention rate of 60% for engineering and42% for computer science, and indicates that once Texas A&M engineering students completeCBK, their chances of graduation with a degree in engineering are very high. On the average, ittook both men and women more than 4 ½ years to graduate, and women graduated slightly fasterthan men: Mean Semesters to Graduate Standard Deviation Females 9.48 1.264 Males 9.75 1.417 p = 0.00825Hispanic and African American women both completed the initial coursework and graduatedfaster than males of the same group. As expected, the more semesters engineering graduates take to complete CBK, the fewersemesters on average they take to graduates (p <.01). The paper will present findings includingthe correlation of completion of CBK to semesters to graduation, analysis by gender andethnicity, and difference in grade points by gender due to women completing CBK and takingless time to graduation. Though studies of this nature may be considered common, few havetaken such a large cohort and followed it through graduation based on time to completion ofCBK, which research indicates are the barrier courses to completion of an engineering degree.This study will present findings related to ethnicity, financial need status, and whether studentstransferred to other majors related to time to completion of CBK and time to graduation.

Kimball, J., & Hobson, M. (2011, June), Women and Time to Completion of an Engineering Baccalaureate at Texas A&M University Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18950

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