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Retaining Women Professors in Science and Engineering Programs: Improving Diversity and Learning


Albany, NY – Many top university engineering and science programs today are missing a critical component....women professors. Despite increasing numbers of women studying science and engineering, a recent study reveals that these women are not ending up in faculty positions at engineering schools. In a study released this year from the University of Oklahoma, researchers found women in the top 50 departments in their field were just 6.5 percent of faculty in electrical engineering, 6.6 percent of physics faculty, and 6.7 percent of mechanical engineering faculty. Across science and engineering programs, women hold less than 20 percent of faculty positions at 4-year colleges. Even so, some professors at first-rate colleges and universities say the situation has improved significantly over the past several years; they attribute the increased number of women faculty members at their schools, in part, to friendlier family policies and a dwindling prejudice against women. This story looks at the ways top colleges are retaining women professors in their science and engineering departments, improving diversity and learning. MentorNet is the national electronic mentoring network for undergraduate and graduate women students in engineering and science at http://www.mentornet.net/.