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2 Recruiting Women Students R ecruitment of students into science and engineering (S&E) pro- grams is an interactive process, reflecting the intersection of a university's efforts to enroll students and students' desires to at- tend a particular institution. Two assumptions underlie strategies de- signed to attract women to undergraduate and graduate education in S&E: first, the group of female S&E college applicants is larger than the number that actually enroll (i.e., there is a gap between interest and en- rollment); and, second, following the first assumption, there are obstacles to recruiting additional women. Both of these assumptions emerged in the meetings held at the four universities visited. This chapter addresses the challenges confronting universities as they try to recruit more female undergraduates and graduates, and it examines the recruitment strate- gies adopted by the universities visited and other institutions. CHALLENGES In 2001 women comprised 48.9 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds and 49.3 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds in the United States (NSF, 2004c). Women are more likely than men to enroll in postsecondary education immedi- ately after completing high school. In 2001, 64 percent of women--com- pared with 60 percent of men--did so (NSB, 2004). Women constitute a majority of undergraduate students, and many choose to major in S&E programs. The two assumptions that underlie strategies designed to attract 14
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 15 women to undergraduate and graduate education in S&E can be assessed by means of information that compares female high school students inter- ested in S&E with female undergraduates in S&E. The working hypoth- esis is that while both groups are likely growing, the ratio of the former to the latter remains larger. Undergraduates Interest in S&E among high school students is clearly rising. Accord- ing to recent data from the U.S. Department of Education (2004:70): Since the early 1980s, when states began to increase the number of re- quired courses to receive a high school diploma, the percentage of high school graduates completing advanced coursework in science and math- ematics has increased. In 1982, 35 percent of high school graduates had completed advanced science coursework (i.e., at least one course classi- fied as more challenging than general biology); this percentage had in- creased to 63 percent by 2000. Most of this increase is attributable to increases in the rates at which graduates completed chemistry I and/or physics I because the percentage who had completed at least one course of either chemistry II, physics II, or advanced biology increased only from 15 to 18 percent between 1982 and 2000. The percentage of high school graduates who had completed courses in advanced academic mathematics (i.e., completed at least one course classified as more challenging than algebra II and geometry I) increased from 26 percent in 1982 to 45 percent in 2000. Moreover, the percentage that had completed advanced level II (i.e., precalculus or an introduction to analysis) more than tripled (from 5 percent to 18 percent). The percent- age that had completed advanced level III (i.e., a course in calculus) doubled (from 6 percent to 13 percent). Female students' interest in science, as reflected in the percentages of male and female high school students taking math and science classes, has also increased (Table 2-1). Women's interest in the lower-level mathematics classes has consis- tently been higher than that of male students, and has been growing. For the higher-level mathematics classes, women's participation has clearly grown, although the percentage of females taking these courses lags a bit behind the percentage of male students. Likewise, a greater percentage of women are taking biology and chemistry. Additional evidence of female high school students' interest in S&E can be gleaned from the percentage of women taking advanced place- ment (AP) subject exams in high school. In general, women are more likely to take AP exams than men: in 2004, 56.2 percent of AP participants were women (College Board, 2005). In selected fields, it is clear that women are quite interested in S&E (Table 2-2).
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16 in but credit d totals 9.7 6.5 Female 77.3 63.7 22.9 10.6 94.1 18.0 63.5 26.2 the High earne in in who 8.2 7.1 Male 73.7 59.8 23.0 11.2 91.4 14.5 57.1 31.7 Included Courses students 8.9 6.7 of school. 1998 Total 75.1 61.7 23.1 11.0 92.7 16.2 60.4 28.8 Science high and percentage entering the to 9.1 5.0 Female 72.2 61.6 12.3 18.3 94.5 12.8 58.5 22.2 report prior only Mathematics 9.5 3.9 Male 64.3 57.7 11.1 16.3 91.8 10.9 52.9 27.0 courses data these Selected These 9.3 4.5 1994 Total 70.0 61.1 11.7 17.3 93.2 11.9 55.8 24.5 took figures. who Taking students published reported. 9.4 5.6 4.1 not Graduates Female 64.2 54.6 12.8 92.3 10.8 50.0 18.0 those was count previously sex 9.8 7.5 9.4 4.4 School 1998 Male 62.1 51.0 14.0 89.4 47.7 25.4 not from do whose High and and 9.6 6.5 4.2 of 1990 Total 63.2 52.9 13.4 90.9 10.1 48.9 21.5 revised 1994, school graduates been high are 1990, have Biology in Percentage (2003:103). Sex: II while 2-1 by separately NSF Numbers Geometry Algebra Trigonometry Precalculus Calculus Biology AP/Honors course Chemistry Physics Engineering shown TABLE School, Course Mathematics Science NOTES: each not SOURCE:
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 17 TABLE 2-2 Percentage of AP Examinees Who Are Female, by Subject, 2004 Percentage of Examinees Subject Who Are Female Biology 58 Calculus AB 48 Calculus BC 40 Chemistry 46 Computer science A and AB 15 Physics B 35 Physics C 25 Statistics 50 SOURCE: NAE and NRC (2005). Tables 2-1 and 2-2 suggest that a large and growing proportion of female secondary students appear to be interested in S&E. Overall enrollments in both public and private secondary schools have risen over time, suggesting that greater numbers of females are en- rolling in secondary education (US DOE, 2004). This finding should trans- late into greater numbers of women majoring in S&E as undergraduates. Evidence for that conclusion can be found in the number of S&E baccalaureate degrees awarded to women (Figure 2-1). The number of FIGURE 2-1 Number of baccalaureate degrees awarded, by field and gender, 1966-2001. SOURCE: NSF (2004c).
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18 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY TABLE 2-3 Percentage of Bachelor's Degrees Awarded to Women, by Field, 2001 Field Percent All fields 57.4 S&E 50.6 Sciences 55.9 Biological/agricultural sciences 57.3 Computer sciences 27.6 Earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences 40.9 Mathematics/statistics 48.0 Physical sciences 41.7 Psychology 77.5 Social sciences 54.8 Engineering 20.1 Non-S&E 60.5 SOURCE: NSF (2004c). women receiving baccalaureate degrees in S&E has risen substantially and is now equal to or above the number of men. Women and men pursue particular S&E disciplines to different ex- tents. A greater portion of degrees in biological and agricultural sciences, psychology, and the social sciences went to women in 2001 (Table 2-3), whereas most degrees in engineering were awarded to men. When the evidence of women's interest in S&E is compared with the intentions of college freshmen to major in S&E, one might expect many more female S&E majors. However, women's interest in majoring in S&E has not changed very much. The percentage of freshmen intending to major in S&E between 1977 and 2002 has risen (Table 2-4): · For white females, the percentage has risen slightly since 1977, from about 20 percent to about 24 percent in 2002, but has dropped slightly from a high in the early 1990s. · For Asian American females, the percentage has risen from about 30 percent to about 34 percent and, like the data for whites, is lower in 2002 than it was in the 1990s. · For black females, there has been a noticeable increase from about 21 percent to about 33 percent. · For Mexican American/Chicana and Puerto Rican American females, there has been an increase from about 25 percent to about 31 percent.
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 19 · For American Indian/Alaskan Native females, there has been a slight increase from about 26 percent to about 27 percent. For all races or ethnicities, male freshmen are more likely than female freshmen to intend to major in S&E, generally defined, and in specific fields such as engineering. Female freshmen, however, are more likely than male freshmen to intend to major in biological and agricultural sci- ences along with social and behavioral sciences, regardless of race or ethnicity. The proportion of women freshmen intending to major in S&E is fairly consistent across all S&E disciplines. More men are choosing com- puter science, whereas fewer men are choosing the physical sciences and the biological/agricultural sciences (Table 2-5). Women are increasingly choosing the biological/agricultural sciences, social/behavior sciences, and engineering over the physical sciences, mathematics/statistics, and computer sciences. The combination of these data on high school interest in S&E, enroll- ment data, degree data, and freshmen interest in S&E suggests that more women are receiving degrees in S&E because the number of women at- tending postsecondary institutions--rather than the proportion of colle- giate women interested in S&E--is rising. In fact, female freshmen are not much more interested in S&E than they used to be, nor has the distribu- tion of women's interest in particular disciplines changed much. Women still prefer the biological sciences over engineering. Ultimately, it is the student's decision to apply and enroll in a college program. One can simply portray this decision as a binary choice to pur- sue an S&E program in college or not. Universities are increasingly chal- lenged in their recruiting efforts as prospective students see lower ben- efits or higher costs in pursuing an S&E degree. Some costs, such as paying for college, affect both male and female students.1 However, other factors affect male and female students differently. Two obstacles sometimes encountered in recruiting more women to undergraduate study in S&E are differences in preparation for such study and negative attitudes about S&E. As for differences in preparation, women face more of an uphill battle to succeed in an S&E program--not because of a difference in aptitude, but because they have to absorb more information in less time. Both men and women take S&E courses in high school, but there is a slight but important difference in the kinds of courses they take. Women are more likely to take mathematics courses 1For example, if S&E degrees take longer to achieve than non-S&E degrees, students concerned about financing college might be tempted to enroll in non-S&E programs.
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20 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY TABLE 2-4 Freshmen Intending to Major in S&E, by Race/Ethnicity, Sex, and Field: Selected Years, 1977-2002 (percentage distribution) Race and Ethnicity/Sex/Field 1977 1981 1984 White 30.0 32.7 32.8 Men 39.5 43.9 42.9 Physical sciences 4.5 3.8 3.2 Biological/agricultural sciences 8.2 6.7 6.3 Mathematics/statistics 1.3 0.9 1.1 Computer sciences 2.1 7.2 6.5 Social/behavioral sciences 6.6 5.8 6.3 Engineering 16.8 19.5 19.5 Women 20.3 22.5 23.2 Physical sciences 1.5 1.3 1.3 Biological/agricultural sciences 6.2 4.8 5.0 Mathematics/statistics 1.1 1.0 1.3 Computer sciences 1.2 4.5 3.0 Social/behavioral sciences 8.4 7.6 9.2 Engineering 1.9 3.3 3.4 Asian American 43.1 49.4 49.6 Men 55.6 60.7 61.0 Physical sciences 6.3 5.4 5.2 Biological/agricultural sciences 10.0 7.9 10.9 Mathematics/statistics 1.6 1.2 1.1 Computer sciences 3.5 6.3 6.1 Social/behavioral sciences 4.5 3.4 5.1 Engineering 29.7 36.5 32.6 Women 29.8 37.2 37.9 Physical sciences 3.4 2.7 3.2 Biological/agricultural sciences 9.3 9.2 10.6 Mathematics/statistics 1.3 1.6 1.2 Computer sciences 3.6 7.2 5.6 Social/behavioral sciences 7.0 7.0 6.9 Engineering 5.2 9.5 10.4 African American 26.5 33.0 30.9 Men 34.7 40.5 37.0 Physical sciences 2.0 1.6 1.1 Biological/agricultural sciences 5.2 4.1 5.0 Mathematics/statistics 0.7 0.8 0.5 Computer sciences 2.7 10.5 10.5 Social/behavioral sciences 9.0 6.0 7.1 Engineering 15.1 17.5 12.8 Women 20.8 27.9 26.8 Physical sciences 0.9 1.0 0.9 Biological/agricultural sciences 3.8 3.8 4.9 Mathematics/statistics 0.7 0.8 0.7 Computer sciences 1.9 9.3 8.9 Social/behavioral sciences 11.1 8.3 7.6 Engineering 2.4 4.7 3.8
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 21 1987 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 27.8 29.3 31.7 32.3 31.7 31.3 35.6 37.3 39.8 40.4 40.0 39.6 2.8 3.2 3.3 2.7 2.4 2.8 5.3 5.8 8.1 8.4 7.1 6.2 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.9 3.3 2.9 3.2 5.6 7.7 5.5 7.0 7.6 7.6 6.7 6.3 7.2 16.2 16.8 16.7 16.2 15.8 17.0 20.9 22.7 25.2 25.7 24.9 23.9 1.2 1.3 2.0 1.6 1.6 1.5 4.3 4.9 7.3 9.3 8.8 7.6 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.6 0.8 1.1 0.5 11.2 11.9 11.2 10.5 10.4 11.1 2.4 2.9 3.4 2.8 2.4 2.5 47.5 42.8 42.8 48.0 47.5 43.2 56.0 52.7 51.1 58.0 60.0 55.0 3.2 3.4 2.8 2.0 2.0 2.2 11.1 10.9 13.4 11.3 8.9 10.2 0.7 1.0 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.9 4.6 4.3 4.2 11.6 19.4 8.1 5.4 6.6 6.5 4.3 4.8 6.1 31.0 26.5 23.6 28.1 24.3 27.5 38.1 33.2 34.5 37.5 35.9 33.5 2.4 1.6 2.2 2.3 1.4 1.6 13.0 9.4 13.5 14.1 13.3 13.5 1.2 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.8 2.6 1.8 1.4 3.4 6.2 1.6 11.3 12.2 10.7 10.0 8.5 9.9 7.6 7.4 5.9 7.1 5.9 6.1 31.0 31.5 37.9 36.9 37.2 35.4 36.8 35.1 44.6 40.8 41.7 40.2 1.3 1.2 2.0 1.2 1.4 1.3 4.1 4.5 6.8 6.6 5.8 5.8 0.7 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.4 6.3 6.7 6.6 8.8 13.2 8.2 6.9 7.5 7.4 6.2 7.4 8.0 17.5 14.8 21.2 17.5 13.3 16.5 26.8 29.6 34.0 34.3 34.0 32.5 0.9 0.7 1.7 1.5 1.0 1.3 3.9 5.0 7.8 9.9 9.2 10.0 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.5 4.4 5.1 4.6 5.0 5.3 2.5 11.2 13.4 11.7 12.5 13.8 14.5 5.8 4.9 7.6 4.8 4.1 3.7 continued
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22 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY TABLE 2-4 Continued Race and Ethnicity/Sex/Field 1977 1981 1984 Mexican American/Chicano and Puerto Rican American 31.7 36.4 33.8 Men 39.4 44.1 43.1 Physical sciences 1.7 3.0 2.5 Biological/agricultural sciences 6.1 7.0 6.1 Mathematics/statistics 1.7 0.6 0.6 Computer sciences 2.9 5.9 9.3 Social and behavioral sciences 10.9 5.4 7.5 Engineering 16.1 22.2 17.1 Women 24.6 28.9 25.7 Physical sciences 0.7 1.7 1.4 Biological/agricultural sciences 5.8 6.6 5.9 Mathematics/statistics 0.3 0.3 0.8 Computer sciences 2.6 5.8 5.6 Social/behavioral sciences 13.1 9.4 7.8 Engineering 2.1 5.1 4.2 Other Latino NA NA NA Men NA NA NA Physical sciences NA NA NA Biological/agricultural sciences NA NA NA Mathematics/statistics NA NA NA Computer sciences NA NA NA Social/behavioral sciences NA NA NA Engineering NA NA NA Women NA NA NA Physical sciences NA NA NA Biological/agricultural sciences NA NA NA Mathematics/statistics NA NA NA Computer sciences NA NA NA Social/behavioral sciences NA NA NA Engineering NA NA NA American Indian/Alaskan Native 32.7 30.0 29.6 Men 37.9 39.5 32.8 Physical sciences 3.8 3.2 1.1 Biological/agricultural sciences 9.1 5.8 8.3 Mathematics/statistics 2.4 0.7 0.1 Computer sciences 1.5 4.0 3.3 Social/behavioral sciences 9.3 6.2 6.0 Engineering 11.8 19.6 14.0 Women 25.8 16.4 22.3 Physical sciences 1.3 1.1 0.8 Biological/agricultural sciences 5.9 3.5 8.3 Mathematics/statistics 0.7 0.1 1.0 Computer sciences 1.3 1.4 2.6 Social/behavioral sciences 11.8 8.1 7.5 Engineering 4.8 2.2 2.1 NA = not available. NOTE: The physical sciences include physics, chemistry, astronomy, and the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences. SOURCE: NSB (2004:Appendix Table 2-6).
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 23 1987 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 35.1 33.9 33.2 35.5 36.2 34.7 41.9 40.0 38.8 42.0 45.0 40.8 1.9 2.6 2.2 1.4 1.1 1.8 6.8 6.2 7.4 7.5 7.3 6.8 0.8 0.7 0.5 0.7 0.8 1.0 3.2 2.7 3.1 6.3 6.8 5.2 9.7 8.6 9.8 8.4 6.9 7.9 19.5 19.2 15.8 17.7 22.1 18.1 29.4 29.7 28.2 30.7 28.7 30.7 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2 0.8 1.5 6.6 5.1 6.5 8.7 9.4 9.2 0.3 0.8 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 2.2 1.6 1.1 1.7 1.4 0.6 14.9 16.5 14.7 14.3 13.8 16.7 4.4 4.6 4.4 4.4 2.9 2.2 NA NA 38.0 41.3 37.2 35.4 NA NA 40.4 51.4 45.4 42.2 NA NA 1.8 1.6 1.9 2.0 NA NA 8.7 8.6 5.3 6.9 NA NA 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.9 NA NA 2.9 6.9 9.4 4.8 NA NA 9.0 7.9 9.7 10.0 NA NA 17.7 26.0 18.7 17.6 NA NA 35.4 32.2 31.3 31.1 NA NA 2.0 1.1 1.1 1.5 NA NA 9.9 7.8 9.4 8.3 NA NA 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.6 NA NA 1.5 1.8 1.7 0.9 NA NA 17.0 14.9 15.5 16.6 NA NA 4.8 6.2 3.3 3.2 31.5 31.8 31.9 33.6 35.4 32.0 39.7 35.8 35.9 40.1 39.0 36.8 3.6 4.9 2.0 3.0 2.9 2.2 7.2 7.4 9.5 8.1 7.9 5.3 0.8 0.9 0.8 0.6 0.7 0.8 2.6 1.3 1.9 5.5 5.4 4.0 7.2 7.3 8.2 7.7 7.0 8.6 18.3 14.0 13.5 15.2 15.1 15.9 23.4 26.2 26.5 27.8 30.0 27.2 0.9 1.7 1.0 2.2 2.4 1.4 5.6 7.5 6.7 9.3 10.4 8.8 1.2 0.1 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.7 1.1 1.6 1.2 1.3 0.5 11.3 12.4 12.4 11.4 12.7 13.3 3.7 3.4 4.2 3.3 2.7 2.8
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24 5.9 2.2 5.7 2.6 3.2 2002 15.0 14.6 18.1 44.0 31.1 45.8 11.5 100.0 100.0 5.4 1.8 5.4 2.3 7.0 1999 15.5 21.9 15.5 39.9 32.0 42.3 11.2 100.0 100.0 (percentage 5.9 1.8 6.2 2.5 5.6 1996 18.4 15.5 16.1 42.4 32.6 40.7 12.6 100.0 100.0 1977-2002 7.5 2.0 8.5 6.9 2.8 4.2 1993 20.4 18.5 42.9 28.2 43.5 14.4 100.0 100.0 sciences. Years, 7.4 2.4 8.8 5.1 3.4 6.3 ocean 1990 15.6 20.5 45.4 21.0 50.5 13.8 100.0 100.0 and Selected 7.0 2.4 9.7 4.9 3.8 6.1 1987 14.8 19.7 46.4 21.1 51.0 13.2 100.0 100.0 Field: atmospheric, and 6.9 2.5 5.3 5.2 1984 14.8 16.1 14.9 44.8 21.7 15.7 37.3 14.6 100.0 100.0 earth, Sex and by 7.9 2.2 5.9 4.2 1981 15.1 16.9 13.0 44.9 20.1 21.5 33.3 15.0 100.0 100.0 S&E, in 3.2 5.5 7.3 5.0 6.6 9.9 astronomy, 1977 10.3 20.1 17.5 43.0 28.8 42.4 100.0 100.0 Major to chemistry, 2-6). physics, Table Intending sciences sciences include sciences sciences Freshmen sciences (2004:Appendix sciences sciences sciences sciences 2-5 NSB Physical Physical Biological/agricultural Mathematics/statistics Computer Social/behavioral Engineering Physical Biological/agricultural Mathematics/statistics Computer Social/behavioral Engineering TABLE distribution) Sex/Field Men Women NOTE: SOURCE:
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 37 disadvantaged in math and science. The program sponsored a mentor for them in their own schools. A summer engineering program offered sopho- more and junior high school women and minorities several weeks of exposure to university faculty and students. This program has been suc- cessful; more than 30 percent of attendees have enrolled at the university. Yet another program begins by bringing sixth-graders to campus in groups from the same city. By bringing the students back each year, the university hoped they will form a cohesive group and eventually enroll in the university's science and engineering program. According to the dean of engineering, successful programs are those that stress repeated experi- ences and interaction with inspiring faculty. The president of one university decided to promote special events to recruit diverse undergraduate students. In what has become a longtime special event, several hundred female, African American, and Asian stu- dents are invited to spend the weekend on campus to meet with current students and faculty and to visit labs and other areas. The immediate goal of the university in initiating the program was to increase the female S&E student population. Such programs may be very useful for highly qualified applicants who are able to choose among many undergraduate institutions. To nurture and sustain initial interest and present more in-depth views of science and engineering, some institutions have opted for longer events. These can take the form of a week-long "camp," incorporating different areas of science or engineering, or multi-week sessions, typically held during the summer. These events familiarize students with science and engineering topics. An example of a summer camp from a school (not visited) was a week-long mathematics camp held twice, in 1999 and 2000, by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Southern Colo- rado. Chacon and Soto-Johnson (2003) note that the process of holding the camp involved, among other steps, identifying the purpose of the camp; securing funding; determining course curriculum; identifying and plan- ning ancillary activities; identifying instructors; identifying who would be invited to participate, how the admissions process would work, and how prospective invitees would be located; and program evaluation. In a similar effort, the chair of an engineering institute at one of the institutions visited brought high school and middle school students, as well as college freshmen, to the institute for a hands-on, week-long camp focusing on robotics and featuring LEGOs, motors, computers, and other devices. The students worked with PowerPoint presentations and a web site, set up contests, and watched demonstrations. Most programs of this type center on an on-site visit, meetings with faculty and graduates of the program, visits to labs that offer demonstra-
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38 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY tion projects, and interaction with students. These events are designed to pique the interest of students who are considering attending the institu- tion. Such events are also geared toward identifying students who may not have considered pursuing a degree in science or engineering or who have never been introduced to the concept of pursuing science and engi- neering as a career. These programs address the following critical issues: · Many middle and high school students have never been in a re- search lab and do not know what goes on in "research." · An introduction to women faculty drives home the point that women are experts in technical fields. · Interaction with current students and degree graduates demon- strates the different levels of success possible. Younger students can more easily identify with speakers closer to their age than with senior faculty. · Giving women undergraduate and graduate students the opportu- nity to teach younger students or K-12 teachers about their discipline helps these student feel that their knowledge is useful, which is highly motivating for them. These events are most frequently hosted by a department or a col- lege, because they can offer a range of lab visits and demonstration projects. The events do not need to be costly, nor do they always require a significant faculty or administration presence in the organization. One of the most successful events was hosted by a student organization at one of the universities visited. The organization recruited all of the speak- ers and the participants in demonstration projects (e.g., students and faculty) and undertook outreach to local high schools. The limited finan- cial outlay was provided by the dean of engineering. Some events even included parents, offering them parallel programming so that students and parents could meet separately with university representatives. On-campus orientations complement outreach efforts: instead of go- ing to the secondary schools, the secondary students are brought to cam- pus. Specific strategies have taken a number of forms, including · science and engineering competitions or contests; · visits with students and faculty; · visits to labs or allowing prospective students to use major equip- ment such as telescopes or a scanning electron microscope; · career day; and · "bring your daughter to work day." The length of strategies has also varied: day visits, weekend visits, or week-long or longer programs.
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 39 Developing Bridging Programs Bridging programs are held in the summer for students who have just graduated from high school and are preparing to enter a university or college in the fall. Such programs are intended to acclimatize students to the college level and to offer then a chance to brush up on certain sub- jects--all to ease the transition from high school to college. Bridging pro- grams serve two primary functions: orientation and a jump-start on edu- cation. An example of a related program is a student exchange program between Princeton University and Smith College (the nation's first women's college to have an engineering school). Designed for juniors, the exchange program is designed to help students succeed in graduate school and in engineering careers (Anonymous, 2005). Graduate Student Recruitment Because graduate students are recruited at the departmental level, faculty advisers and departments play a much bigger role in the environ- ment surrounding graduate students than surrounding undergraduate students. Indeed, the institutional setting for graduate students is in real- ity the department, and many aspects of graduate student training and life, such as stipends, may vary from department to department. Some disciplines follow a certain pattern of training and curriculum, in which an incoming graduate student may undertake a series of rotations through various faculty labs before choosing one in which to pursue a thesis. The process of qualifying examinations from the master's to doctoral level, the thesis proposal defense, and the thesis committee composition require- ments all may vary from department to department, even within the same school at a university. Within this setting, those at the highest levels in the institution must establish an environment supportive of women. Better academic preparation is less of a concern for graduate students BOX 2-3 Graduate Student Recruitment Strategies Have the institution and S&E departments signal the importance of recruit- ing women. Enhance science, engineering, and mathematics education at the under- graduate level. Develop better methods for identifying prospective students. Organize on-campus orientations. Offer financial aid.
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40 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY than for undergraduate students. Rather, the focus is on combating any negative views or experiences of undergraduates toward further study in science and engineering. Universities are also competing with employers at this point. The overall goal for universities is to show female students that they can be capable scientists and engineers and that they would benefit from the additional educational experience. Signaling the Importance of Women The university as a parent institution can provide some general struc- ture for graduate students such as uniform health insurance, housing, child care (if available), and parking. For most other things, graduate students look to their departments. General approaches to improving the recruitment and retention of graduate students are implemented by an institution, but often it is the tone set by an administration that actually facilitates change. A dean of engineering who came from a position in industry was supportive and outspoken about the value of graduate women and minorities in science and engineering. The "national crisis" in scientific and engineering talent cannot be resolved, he pointed out, without educating more women and minorities. He then praised the decision in 2000 by the "Big Ten Plus" deans to quickly address the "pipeline problem" and to share best prac- tices. According to the dean, the university's "industrial partners" are making it clear that they highly value diversity and want to see more women and minorities among university graduates. "If a company wants to sell a car to as many people as possible," he said, "they want a design team that represents all those people." A diverse workforce requires a diverse student body. The role of the department chair in setting the tone of the department is also critical. A department chair can signal support in many ways, as was demonstrated at some of the institutions visited. The chair sets policy and procedure within the department and allocates resources to support various activities. The chair also has influence at various stages of the graduate program. Because graduate recruiting is conducted primarily at the department level, a chair can have a significant influence on how recruiting is conducted. For example, the chair can call for recruiting materials to be sent to a diverse group of universities and colleges. Like- wise, the chair can encourage faculty to ask their colleagues at peer insti- tutions to recommend diverse candidates for graduate study. During the degree program, the chair can decide what approach and tone will be adopted by the department when issues arise and provide support to activities aimed at helping women students. The chair can support and reinforce institutional policies on sexual harassment, provide funds for
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 41 refreshments at a lunchtime seminar series or journal club, or support a group that simply gets together to network and mentor one another. Finally, faculty support is important. As thesis advisers and lab direc- tors, faculty members are central figures in the daily lives of graduate students. They set the conditions of work in the lab or research group, determine the funding stream, and supervise students' research. For many students the research group is also the center of social interaction and serves as their community. For this reason, faculty members, by setting the tone for the working environment, have more influence than anyone else. For faculty with less experience working with women graduate stu- dents, some issues that arise may not be anticipated. For example, per- sonal safety issues may be different for women working alone at night in a lab. One faculty member commented that whereas general safety issues had been "background noise," as he put it, the issue of personal safety became a much higher priority when women students joined the lab. Similarly, safety issues also are a factor in housing arrangements for women; on-campus housing may be more important for women who may want to live closer to limit the distance to and from the lab at odd hours. A final resource for departments interested in better reaching pro- spective female graduate students is the department's web site. "Depart- mental web sites are sometimes designed to emphasize the participation of women" (Whitten et al., 2003:253), which is an important step because the site may be the first entrée the student sees at an institution. Accord- ing to Bozeman and Hughes (2004:243), "A glance at the photographs on the web site of any large U.S. mathematics department leads to an unmis- takable conclusion: Almost all of the faces belong to men. Inevitably, there is a cluster of female faces, but these in all likelihood belong to the non-tenure-track faculty and staff members. From the vantage point of a student at a women's college or a minority-serving institution, this rev- elation is jarring." An additional measure is for departments to specifi- cally reference the importance of diversity in admissions policies and practices (Cuny and Aspray, 2001). Thus institutional signaling can take the form of · communications from deans and department chairs about the im- portance of inclusiveness: use of the department's web site to inform women; departmental publications that promote inclusiveness--that is, include pictures of female students, faculty, or scientists; · monitoring student concerns through climate surveys and meet- ings with students; and · developing female-friendly or family-friendly policies to support students on issues such as campus security or child care.
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42 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY Enhancing and Improving Undergraduate S&E Programs Just as improvements in secondary school make it easier to recruit prospective undergraduates, improvements in women's experiences in undergraduate school make it easier for universities to recruit graduates. Strategies might entail establishing programs to give female S&E students greater access to research projects, which can better acclimate them to the kind of work expected in graduate school. In general, departments could encourage graduate students and faculty to work more with undergradu- ates. Steps taken by departments and institutions to combat any negative attitudes female students might have about continuing in higher educa- tion also would be helpful in recruiting women as well as men. Identifying Prospective Students Any efforts by faculty to advise undergraduates about the possibili- ties of going to graduate school and to bring especially talented under- graduates to the attention of departments would help graduate student recruitment. Bringing undergraduates together on campus for a confer- ence hosted by the university, for example, also could be beneficial. In 2000, the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research held a workshop on recruiting and re- taining women graduate students that echoed these points and is rel- evant to the range of S&E disciplines. The first recommendation of the workshop was to "broaden the recruitment pool beyond students with undergraduate CSE [computer science and engineering] majors" (Cuny and Aspray, 2001:3). "Students without traditional backgrounds can suc- ceed--and indeed flourish--in CSE graduate programs. Departments should go beyond the traditional applicant pool to recruit and admit strong students without undergraduate degrees in CSE. The potential of such students can be judged on academic records, difficulty of electives, successful research experiences, leadership roles, involvement in computing-like activities in their work or volunteer efforts, and intern- ship experiences" (p. 4). Other recommendations from the Cuny and Aspray report suggest broadening the criteria used in admissions. Schools should also encour- age the reentry of students who have interrupted their education. Schools would therefore have to think more broadly about the relevance of broader criteria for admissions such as work experience. Organizing On-campus Orientations In a review of enculturation practices at a large public research uni- versity, Boyle and Boice (1998:88) noted that "the departments that excel
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 43 at enculturating graduate students supplement the general orientation [held by the institution] with a departmentally sponsored orientation. These departments realize that it is the departmental culture, not neces- sarily the university culture, to which their incoming students will need to adjust." Orientations could be held to introduce undergraduates to graduate students or faculty and to a department's labs and research projects. Orientation also could take the form of bridging programs, simi- lar in purpose to those held between high school and the start of under- graduate education. Such programs could assess students' skills and pro- cedures for remedying deficiencies such as reading lists and summer courses or mentoring (Cuny and Aspray, 2001). Offering Financial Aid Research assistantships are very valuable in promoting the careers of graduate students. Thus departments should ensure that they offer these positions in similar numbers to male and female candidates, and make the positions as flexible as possible. As one academic noted, "When gradu- ate aid comes in the form of teaching assistantships, as it does in my university, there is far less flexibility for taking time off. That especially affects women" (Kerber, 2005). Postdoctoral Recruiting Postdoctoral recruitment and the recruitment of new, tenure-track assistant professors involve many of the same issues (see Chapter 4 for additional discussion). Although institutional policies such as child care are likely to be important to both postdocs and new junior faculty, the hiring for these positions is conducted differently. BOX 2-4 Postdoctoral Recruitment Strategies Have the institution and S&E departments signal the importance of recruit- ing women. Enhance science, engineering, and mathematics education at the graduate level. Develop better methods for identifying prospective postdocs. Establish female- and family-friendly policies and practices. Increase postdoctoral salaries.
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44 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY Signaling the Importance of Women As with graduate students the university as a parent institution can provide some general structure for postdoctoral students such as uniform health insurance, housing, child care (if available), and parking. For most other things, postdoctoral students look to their departments, and espe- cially their labs. Approaches to improving the recruitment of postdoctoral students are implemented by an institution, and the tone set by an administration can facilitate change. A department chair can signal support in many ways, by setting policy and procedure within the department and allocat- ing resources to support various activities. Faculty support is paramount. Because postdoctoral recruiting is con- ducted primarily at the individual faculty or laboratory level, the role of the faculty member is critical. At this stage, faculty are no longer instruc- tors and advisers but peers and colleagues. How postdoctoral students are treated informs the perceptions and preferences of all involved, such as the considerations extended to women graduate students. Faculty members set the conditions of work, determine the funding source, and guide postdoctoral research. The research group is the social center and community for the postdoc. Another form of institutional signaling is creation of an organiza- tional mechanism for oversight of departmental practices regarding postdocs. At a minimum, deans, provosts, and departmental chairs can remind the faculty involved in postdoctoral searches that one component of the search is diversity. Because postdocs tend to be older than graduate students, they are likely to face the same kinds of challenges faced by junior faculty: two- body problem in finding jobs, child-bearing, family responsibilities, and financial issues.5 Enhancing and Improving the Graduate Experience Just as improvements in undergraduate education facilitate recruit- ment for graduate school, improving the graduate experience for women can ease the transition for women from predoctoral status to postdoctoral status. The process of learning about postdoctoral positions is partly for- mal (e.g., advertisements in the journal Science) and partly informal. As a result--and perhaps more so than for junior faculty--women graduate 5Because postdocs were not a focus of this guide, readers are encouraged to refer to other reports that have addressed the postdoctoral experience in depth. See, for example, COSEPUP (2000), Davis (2005).
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 45 students need to engage in networking and plug into their S&E discipline. Moreover, having a well-known mentor or adviser is likely to improve dramatically the chances that a recent Ph.D. will land a postdoctoral posi- tion. Finally, women graduate students, as part of the process by which they earn a Ph.D., also need to obtain the skills that lab directors and other faculty desire in postdocs. Department chairs and faculty should encour- age all graduate students to develop good research, management, grant- writing, organizational, and time management skills, and ensure that women and men receive such training or mentoring equally. Identifying Prospective Students Faculty should advise their graduates about the possibilities and ben- efits of postdoctoral appointments and bring especially talented gradu- ates to the attention of departments. Establishing Female- and Family-Friendly Policies and Practices By adopting various institutional policies and practices, universities could make themselves more attractive to prospective postdocs of either gender. These policies and practices include: · Establishing parental leave policies and child care. Postdocs should be eligible for such benefits, which are often given to faculty. A recent survey of postdocs found that 34 percent were raising children (Davis, 2005). · Instituting sexual harassment sensitivity programs. During the site vis- its, many people pointed out that within each discipline certain academic departments have reputations for being receptive or not receptive to women. At each institution, the issue of sexual harassment was raised. Most institutions responded that they have policies against sexual harass- ment and programs designed to educate employees. To improve the cli- mate of a department for current faculty and to aid in recruiting women faculty, some institutions have taken steps to combat sexual harassment. At some institutions the policies were buttressed by personal meetings with a dean or other member of the administration. · Instituting regular studies to determine the equity of salaries and re- sources. · Offering housing subsidies and access to medical and dental benefits. Sigma Xi recently conducted a multi-campus survey of postdocs, and the preliminary results suggested that housing costs are a particular burden for many postdocs because their host institutions tend to be concentrated in pricey areas. More than 46 percent of respondents work in one of the 15 most expensive cities in the United States. It helps that most of the mar-
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46 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY ried postdocs (who, in all, constitute almost 70 percent of our sample) have spouses who are gainfully employed. On the flip side, at least 28 percent of the married postdocs do not have spouses bringing home a paycheck. The statistic is worse for international postdocs with spouses, 43 percent of whom do not work outside the home, in some cases because of visa restrictions. Of the many single-earner households, nearly half (49 percent) spend more than a third of their income on rent (Davis, 2005:7). Today the costs of health care are quite high. It may not be well known that postdocs who receive independent funding may not be auto- matically eligible for health insurance. Postdocs also are seeking greater access to retirement benefits (Davis, 2005). Increasing Postdoctoral Salaries A majority of postdoctoral positions are federally funded, and the majority of those are funded by the National Institutes of Health (Brainard, 2005). According to Kreeger (2004:178), "The salary levels of the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) given by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) are being used as de facto guidelines by postdocs and their supporters in university administration in seeking pay rises. . . . Adminis- trators both inside and outside the United States take note of the NRSA scales, but these are not official guidelines and have no teeth." One solu- tion would be to set minimum salary standards at each institution. Uni- versities could set postdoctoral salaries against peer institutions or con- sider the NRSA salary level as a minimum threshold. At a minimum, administrators could survey postdocs at their institutions to determine whether postdocs in similar positions are paid similarly or could make salary guidelines more transparent.
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RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 47 BOX 2-5 Summary of Strategies for Recruiting Women Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoctoral Students What faculty can do: · Advise and mentor prospective and current female undergraduate and grad- uate students and postdocs. · Conduct outreach to K-12 institutions to help prepare women for college and to combat negative attitudes about the place of women in science and engineering. · Network with faculty at community colleges and other four-year institutions to broaden the search for prospective recruits. · Invite female students to participate in research opportunities. · Participate in bridge programs, campus visits, lectures, and seminars. · Broaden admission criteria and cast a wider net in recruiting students. What department chairs can do: · Create an image of the department as female friendly and feature this im- age in promotional materials and on the department's web site. · Communicate with faculty about the importance of diversity in recruiting. · Support and reinforce a faculty member's commitment to advising and en- couraging female students and postdocs through service awards and recognition during tenure and promotion reviews. · Monitor the allocation of resources to students and survey students' opinions. What deans and provosts can do: · Communicate with department chairs about the importance of diversity in recruiting. · Sponsor competitions, contests, career days, bridge programs, campus ori- entations, and other efforts to bring prospective students to campus. · Monitor departments' progress in increasing the percentage of female stu- dents and postdocs. · Conduct school-wide assessments of status of women. What presidents can do: · Publicly state the institution's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness whenever possible. · Create an institutional structure, such as a standing committee, to address diversity issues within the student body. Charge that committee with monitoring diversity across the institution and with making recommendations to increase diversity. · Demonstrate the institution's commitment by meeting with female students and postdocs and devoting resources to programs that assist them.
Representative terms from entire chapter: