Asee peer logo

Women Engineers In Advanced Academic Positions (Weaap)

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Panel: Effecting Change in Higher Education

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1377.1 - 14.1377.40



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Priscilla Nelson New Jersey Institute of Technology


Theresa Hunt New Jersey Institute of Technology

author page

Cherrice Traver Union College

author page

Pamela Eibeck Texas Tech

author page

Zulma Toro-Ramos Wichita State University

author page

Cheryl Schrader Boise State University

author page

Mary Roth Lafayette College

author page

delcie durham University of South Florida

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Women Engineers in Advanced Academic Positions (WEAAP): Effecting Change in Higher Education Abstract

Contemporary issues plaguing higher education and inhibiting the growth of engineering colleges are numerous and vast in scope. The survival of engineering programs across the nation require concerted efforts toward creative thinking and innovative solutions. The higher education community most likely to develop such solutions is comprised of in positions of executive administration. WEAAP, or Women Engineers in Advanced Academic Positions, was a workshop convened not only to address these concerns, but also to consider how issues of bias affecting women in engineering play a role in undermining the success of engineering colleges as a whole. The following paper provides an initial report of this gathering, expanding on the framing and defining of the problems colleges of engineering face, and on the strategies exchanged to address them. While this content is not exhaustive, it does provide groundwork for further study, and provides a comprehensive understanding of the aims and objectives of the WEAAP network.


Numerous challenges loom for higher education these days, with many affecting colleges of engineering uniquely. Even as engineering colleges within our nation’s universities become major units for industrial and global engagement, they face difficulties of decreased state appropriations, rising salaries, competition for enrollment, low K-12 interest in engineering, capped tuition and pressure to expand alternative funding sources. Financial constraints intersect with equity issues, particularly for engineering colleges: recruiting and retaining women in undergraduate and graduate engineering programs remains an enormously difficult task, and the continuing isolation experienced by women in non-life-science engineering and technology professions across sectors of academe, government and industry complicates and jeopardizes the success and sustainable future of the engineering education.

The efforts of organizations and programs such as ADVANCE, WELI, WEPAN, and SWE and other professional societies have supported the career advancement of women and have even facilitated the growing number of engineering women in higher education administration. Opportunities for the women in such positions to convene and share research and solutions to collectively address some of these issues, however, have remained limited. The Women Engineers in Advanced Academic Positions (WEAAP) workshop “Effecting Change in Higher Education,” funded by the National Science Foundation and convened in January 2008, provided an opportunity for these deans, vice presidents and provosts to network, brainstorm, and focus on complex local, national and global issues of engineering education.

This paper reports and expands on the findings of the initial WEAAP gathering, and on WEAAP’s objectives to offer the greater engineering and academic community insight into the multiple perspectives and comprehensive problem-solving emerging out of the workshop. While many conclusions resulted from the discussion and will be elaborated on further in this paper, one issue emerged as a priority: the need for a network and virtual organization for professional

Nelson, P., & Hunt, T., & Traver, C., & Eibeck, P., & Toro-Ramos, Z., & Schrader, C., & Roth, M., & durham, D. (2009, June), Women Engineers In Advanced Academic Positions (Weaap) Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4547

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: © 2009 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