An exploration of gender diversity in engineering programs: A curriculum and instruction-based perspective

Knight, David, Lattuca, Lisa R., Yin, Alexander, Kremer, Gul, York, Travis and Ro, Hyun Kyoung (2012) An exploration of gender diversity in engineering programs: A curriculum and instruction-based perspective. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 18 1: 55-78. doi:10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2012003702

Author Knight, David
Lattuca, Lisa R.
Yin, Alexander
Kremer, Gul
York, Travis
Ro, Hyun Kyoung
Title An exploration of gender diversity in engineering programs: A curriculum and instruction-based perspective
Journal name Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1072-8325
Publication date 2012-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2012003702
Volume 18
Issue 1
Start page 55
End page 78
Total pages 97
Place of publication Redding, CT, United States
Publisher Begell House
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Both the government and industry recognize the need for an innovative and diverse engineering workforce for the US to maintain global competitiveness. Because women comprise less than a fifth of engineering undergraduates, it important to identify practices that may counteract this gender gap in engineering. Unlike other work focused on recruitment and retention of women, this study relies on research and theory on college students to inform the overall research design. It explores how variations in curricular emphases, instructional practices, and students' perceptions of climate across disciplines are related to gender disparities across engineering disciplines. Data are drawn from a nationally representative survey of students from 121 programs at 31 institutions. No research to date has systematically examined the relationship between curricular experiences and gender disparity on such a large scale. Analyses clearly demonstrate differences in gender diversity across the engineering disciplines−programs in mechanical and electrical engineering are significantly less diverse by gender than biomedical/bioengineering, chemical, civil, general, and industrial engineering. Thus, efforts to recruit and retain women students should develop strategies for specific disciplines, perhaps looking beyond traditional efforts that have focused on climate and instead examining curriculum or instructional strategies. This research indicates that females may gravitate toward or persist in disciplines that emphasize thinking from a broad, systems perspective in which instructors explicitly link topics across disciplines in their courses. The less diverse electrical and mechanical engineering disciplines could place a greater emphasis on such topics as an effort to boost their attractiveness to females.
Keyword Women in engineering
Recruitment/retention of women
Disciplinary differences
Educational experiences
Curricular emphases
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 15 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 23 Jul 2012, 15:34:42 EST by David B. Knight on behalf of School of Civil Engineering