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Women Electrical Engineering Faculty: How do they Experience EE Department Climate and Promotion and Tenure?

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Dawn M. Maynen Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Dawn Maynen is the Project Coordinator/ Research Analyst for the Pennsylvania State Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research. She is responsible for client interaction, survey administration, data analysis and reporting of projects. Dawn is part of the Piazza Center research team responsible for multiple publications and conference presentations. Dawn has a Ph.D. in Higher Education/ Student Affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington. She continues her research interests in fraternity and sorority life, risk management and women faculty issues in higher education with a particular interest in STEM.

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Women Electrical Engineering (EE) faculty are without question an elite group of highly educated professionals. Nonetheless, only 14.2% of women EE faculty are tenured/tenure-track [44]. Attracting, retaining and promoting women faculty members are essential to the engineering professoriate and deserve further exploration. This paper highlights recent research on women EE faculty members at four-year research institutions for those who have an interest in studying women faculty in academic settings. This qualitative study found that women EE faculty members face an alienating, isolated and sometimes hostile work environments. These findings were evident in work processes such as collaboration, networking and mentoring which women EE faculty members faced explicit and implicit bias. Nearly all women EE faculty members experienced emotional harassment while a third experienced physical or sexual harassment in the department or with the promotion and tenure process. Although work-life balance and support from other women could be a positive aspect, sometimes these experiences paralleled the negative department environment. Such work environments can have lasting repercussions for women personally and professionally and negatively impact their experiences with the promotion and tenure process. Recommendations for institutions, EE departments, department chairs, faculty members and future research are offered to help promote a supportive culture for women EE faculty members applicable to other STEM environments.

Maynen, D. M. (2021, July), Women Electrical Engineering Faculty: How do they Experience EE Department Climate and Promotion and Tenure? Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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