ASEE Women in Engineering

  • AC 2011-881: PROGRAMS AND PRACTICES MAKING A DIFFERENCE:A CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS IDENTIFYING PROGRAMS AND FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF WOMEN ENGINEERING STUDENTS
  • Lois Calian Trautvetter, Northwestern University,
  • Rose M. Marra, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Lisa R. Lattuca, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Katie L. Piacentini,University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Mr. David B Knight, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

Despite nearly 20 years of recruitment and retention efforts focused on female students, women constituted only 19% of engineering students in 2007. A cross-case analysis of six engineering schools based on rich qualitative data from faculty, student, and administrator interviews, as well as observations and documents, provides a unique opportunity to identify trends and unique practices used to address the recruitment and retention of women engineering students. This paper focuses specifically on how these institutions implement K-12 outreach, admissions, summer/bridge, and first and second-year support programs. We find three themes that support recruitment of female students: 1) historical commitment, institutional type, and geographical location; 2) flexible and strategic admissions policies and "high touch" efforts; and 3) outreach programs for K-12. We also highlight five themes that lead to female students' retaining an engineering degree: 1) Campus climate, 2) support services during early undergraduate years, 3) strong ties to faculty and student interaction in and out of the classroom, 4) high support for student organizations and activities, and 5) learning and living communities.

Our Best Paper authors receive a cash award and the paper was in contention for the 2011 ASEE National Conference Best Paper Award.



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