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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% of faculty in electrical engineering, 6.6% of physics faculty, and 6.7% of mechanical engineering faculty. Across science and engineering programs, women hold less than 20% 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. Allison Dunne reports.