PRISM - American Society for Engineering Education - Logo NOVEMBER 2005 - VOLUME 15, NUMBER 3
A Focus on Women

Frank L HubandI feel I would be remiss if I did not reiterate ASEE’s deep concern for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This has been a disaster of major proportions, and on behalf of ASEE, I offer sincere condolences to all who have lost family, friends and property. While the magnitude of loss overwhelms, I am confident—and proud—that engineers will play a substantial role in the planning and rebuilding in the months to come.

This issue of Prism is dedicated to women in engineering. Women who have chosen engineering as a career are to be congratulated on a number of things, and perseverance ranks high among them. The road to becoming an engineer has never been touted as easy for anyone. For women, there are other deterrents as well, including the perception of a hostile, male-dominated environment and the lack of role models. The sad news is that most college-bound women still don’t consider engineering much of an option. Instead, they are, in greater numbers than ever, studying for careers in medicine, law and business. For Prism’s cover story, “Competing Forces,” writer Alvin Sanoff talked to a number of professional women in education and engineering about why this is the case and what can be done to encourage more women to enter engineering.

But say you’re a woman, and you do persevere for a faculty career in engineering education. The next sad but not surprising news is that women in engineering are less likely than men to get tenure and having children makes it even more difficult, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF) study. “Making It Through the Maze” looks at some of the types of discrimination women face. In the struggle for tenure, the women interviewed for this article recalled social exclusion, inadequate mentoring and a lack of support systems. Some forward-thinking schools have made efforts to address concerns by tailoring mentoring programs for women and sponsoring seminars for new professors.

Opening Doors” is a profile of Sheri Sheppard, a full professor at Stanford University. As the article points out, Sheppard’s path to tenure and full-professor status was challenging. A member of Stanford University’s Design Group, Sheppard is considered a leader in design education, and she was Stanford’s first and, until 2002, only female mechanical engineering professor.

This is Prism’s first issue fully devoted to a single subject. And I can think of no subject more worthy of discussion. I would be interested in your comments and thoughts.

Frank L Huband
Executive Director and Publisher



OPENING DOORS - By Alice Daniel
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TECH VIEW: Think Big, Teach Small - By Mary Kathleen Flynn
CIRCLE OF SUPPORT - Engineering schools are developing programs to help their female students fit in. - By Margaret Loftus
BOOK REVIEW: The World Is Flat - By Robin Tatu
RESEARCH: A More Perfect Union - By Gary S. Was
ON CAMPUS: A Human Touch - By Lynne Shallcross
LAST WORD: All in the Family - By Gary A. Gabriele and Jennifer Currey


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