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Women In Power: Networking On And Off Campus

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Women in Engineering: A Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1325.1 - 7.1325.8



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Paper Authors

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Mariesa Crow

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Karen Butler-Purry

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Noel Schulz

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

Main Menu Session 3592

Women in Power: Networking On & Off Campus Noel N. Schulz, Karen Butler-Purry, Mariesa Crow Mississippi State University/Texas A&M University/University of Missouri-Rolla

Abstract While many universities have had some success in increasing the enrollment of women in graduate and undergraduate classes, they still struggle to increase the number of women faculty in their engineering departments. Besides challenges in recruitment, departments must also worry about retention of their women faculty especially since many departments may only have one or two women faculty. Isolationism can play a major role in women faculty leaving a university.

One of the solutions for successful retention and recruitment of women faculty (and all faculty) is to get them involved in a “network” so they feel part of the department, college, university or technical community. This paper will discuss networking opportunities for women faculty both on their home campuses as well as at technical meetings. Women faculty in power engineering from three different schools, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Missouri-Rolla, will discuss their activities on campus including both formal and informal networking opportunities for women faculty. Additionally they will discuss how activities at IEEE Power Engineering Society meetings provide them with off-campus networking opportunities in their specific technical area. The paper will outline how these networking groups started, suggestions for others and lessons learned.

Introduction Universities have been working very diligently the last twenty years to increase the diversity of their faculty and students. William Wulf, President of the National Academy of Engineering, discussed how we would have a shortage of engineers early in the 21 st century if the engineering community does not reach out to women and minorities and encourage them to pursue careers in engineering1. One key issue in the recruitment and retention of women into engineering careers is to provide role models for them in their engineering faculty. Women students see women faculty who are pursuing professional and personal activities similar to their ambitions and they might say, “If she can do it, I can do it too.”

Traditionally most universities have focused on pipeline programs with outreach programs for K- 12 young women students and undergraduate women’s programs, such as those coordinated with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN). These programs are outstanding and are providing exciting activities to encourage young girls to consider and pursue careers in engineering. Programs such as MentorNet provide mentoring and networking opportunities for women engineering students 2. After graduation corporate women can be involved with professional SWE or IEEE Women in Engineering chapters in various cities. Several companies have women networks within them where technical women interact including IBM’s Diversity Network Groups 3.

Many university towns/cities have student chapters of SWE but not professional chapters of SWE. Women engineering faculty often lack a networking opportunity with other women

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Crow, M., & Butler-Purry, K., & Schulz, N. (2002, June), Women In Power: Networking On And Off Campus Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11328

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