2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Keeping Current: An Update on the Structure and Evaluation of a Program for Graduate Women Interested in Engineering Academia

Presented at Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

According to data from the ASEE, women were awarded 23.1% of doctoral degrees and held 15.7% of tenured/tenure-track faculty faculty positions in 2015 versus 21.3% and 12.7% in 2009, respectively [1, 2]. While promising, the “leaky pipeline” remains a persistent problem in the recruitment of underrepresented people into tenure track positions. To help overcome this barrier, we have created a program to improve the competitiveness of underrepresented applicants in the tenure-track faculty recruitment process at a large public university. The program activities are two-fold. First, seminars and panel discussions led by faculty representing different engineering disciplines cover a variety of topics related to the job search process. Second, peer review sessions over the course of several months allow students to develop their own application materials. Since its founding in 2014, the program has been evaluated by considering four elements: content, format, pace, and climate. The evaluations in the first two years were based on conducting pre-, mid-, and post-surveys as well as voluntary one-on-one exit interviews. For the program’s third year, we made significant changes based on past participant feedback. Specific topics were expanded to increase understanding and improve familiarity with the application process. The evaluation structure was revised to increase immediate feedback. In this paper, we discuss how the program has evolved over the three years as well as how our methods for program monitoring have been revised. By incorporating these changes, we aim to continue to prepare high quality female faculty candidates, thereby diminishing the gender gap in engineering academia.


[1] Yoder, B.L. (2016). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.

[2] Gibbons, M.T. (2009). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.

  1. Ms. Nicole D. Jackson University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [biography]
  2. Ms. Kaitlin I. Tyler University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign [biography]
  3. Mrs. Yanfen Li University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign [biography]
  4. Wan-Ting Chen University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign [biography]
  5. Chaoyang Liu University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  6. Prof. Rohit Bhargava University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign [biography]

The full paper will be available to logged in and registered conference attendees once the conference starts on June 24, 2017, and to all visitors after the conference ends on June 28, 2018

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