Active/Collaborative Learning Student Teams Integrating Technology Effectively Women and Minorities Assessment and Evaluation EC2000 Emerging Technology Foundation Coalition Curricula Concept Inventories
Women & Minorities
IconRecruitment, retention, and graduation of women and underrepresented ethnic minorities is the ability to increase the diversity of the engineering education learning environment by attracting a larger percentage of women and underrepresented ethnic minorities into the study of engineering and retaining them through graduation.


A diverse student body can be defined as one that shows variety in its gender and racial or ethnic composition and resembles the population as a whole. One result of having a more representative student body is a better sense of community and hence a better learning environment for students.

Experience in a diverse student community makes available to students a wider variety of experiences as they interact with students whose gender and culture differ from their own. Seeing different ways to identify, define, assess, and solve problems provides a useful learning environment for students as they progress through the engineering curriculum. If a larger number and greater variety of perspectives are brought to bear in discovering, defining, and solving problems, solutions are more creative. Successfully addressing team maintenance and process problems in groups with diverse members helps students gain useful abilities on conflict resolution, abilities increasingly sought by industry. Today's graduates will be working in a fiercely competitive world market that is multicultural and globally oriented. Providing experiences in gender, cultural, or ethnic diversity will directly benefit our students, who are and will continue to be living in a diverse environment.

There are close relationships between this key component and others. For example, pre college girls prefer cooperative learning strategies and the role of pedagogy in retention, especially as it relates to women and minorities, has been documented.

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  • Texas A&M University and the Institute for Women and Technology
  • Improved Retention in Engineering
  • Boot Camp for Engineers

For more information about managing change in engineering education, contact:

  • Karan Watson
  • Jim Morgan
  • Jan Rinehart

Related links
Related links contains links to external resources on issues related to women and underrepresented minorities in engineering education.

  • Research Foundations for Improving the Representation of Women in the Information Technology Workforce: NSF sponsored a virtual workshop that explored research issues underlying the underrepresentation of women in Information Technology.
  • Achieving Gender Equity in Science Classrooms: A Guide for Faculty : In this handbook we describe the aspects of culture that researchers believe contribute to attrition from SME majors, and we give concrete suggestions for addressing each of these issues. If implemented, these changes may prevent very capable students from leaving the sciences and may also attract students initially uninvolved in the sciences. We hope that this handbook will help faculty members become more aware of the issues that affect women in science and will provide them with ideas on how to address these issues in their own classrooms.
  • Integrated Gender Equity and Reform (InGEAR): This is a compilation of curriculum materials that promote excellence and equity in mathematics, science, and engineering instruction. This web site is being developed as part of a multiuniversity project titled Integrating Gender Equity and Reform (InGEAR). To learn more about In GEAR, visit the In GEAR Home Page.

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