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Attracting and retainingwomen in undergraduate engineering programs - A case study
Published in American Society for Engineering Education
2014
Abstract

Gender disparities in engineering educational programs have been a cause of concern globally. Such disparities can lead to inequalities in professions with related social effects. In this case study, gender based analysis is performed on statistical data of students admitted to undergraduate programs in electrical and biomedical engineering during the academic years 2001-2010 at Ajman University of Science & Technology, United Arab Emirates. Statistical analysis was carried out to determine the trends in admission, retention, and attrition. In each program significant changes were introduced from the academic year 2006-07. Therefore, differences observed before and after the changes were also analyzed. During the 10-year period (2001 - 2010), cumulative intake of women was 34%. The cumulative percentage of women students increased from 33% of the total intake in the first 5-years to 35% in the last 5-years. The overall retention over the 10-year period was 57%. The retention in the group of women was 65%. Introduction of changes in the programs enhanced student retention, more so in the group of women. Further, 73% of the cumulative attrition took place in the first three semesters after admission. Comparing the first and last 5-year periods, this attrition was 68% and 84%, respectively. This trend of attrition was strikingly similar in both the groups of women and men. The analysis suggests that the percentage of women has increased in recent years. Cumulative retention was higher in the group of women compared to that of men. Introduction of changes in the programs enhanced student retention in both groups. An important and interesting observation from this study about student attrition suggests that early period after admission is decisive for a significant majority of students, irrespective of gender. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2014.

About the journal
Journal2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
Open AccessNo