Underrepresentation In Engineering
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics1, 3.2 million Engineers or Architects were employed in the United States in 2017, but only 16.2% were women. The percentage drops to 14.3% for Black / African-Americans and Hispanic / Latina / Latino workers. The Francis College of Engineering is committed to increasing the representation of women and minorities in our profession.
We first made this commitment to ourselves. While only 16.9% of tenured or tenure-track faculty in Colleges of Engineering in the United States are women2, they represent 26.5% of the tenured or tenure-track faculty in the Francis College of Engineering. In the past five years, the number of women holding tenured or tenure-track faculty positions in Engineering at UMass Lowell has increased 85.7%. We have also increased the representation of underrepresented minorities in our College.
We are equally committed to increasing representation in our student body. In 2013, a total of 271 women were enrolled in our undergraduate program. By 2017, that number had grown to 463, representing 15.7% of our undergraduate population. Over the same time, our Hispanic/Latino/Latina and Black/African-American population grew from 270 students to 415, or 14.1% of our undergraduates. As the national averages are 22.8% women and 16.8% underrepresented (according to ASEE2), we know we have work to do.
With the goal of exceeding the national averages, we have designed and implemented a number of initiatives to recruit more underrepresented faculty and students into our College and support them while on campus. These efforts, from recruiting and preparatory programs to on-campus support, include:
Piloted in 2018, Research, Academics and Mentoring Pathways (RAMP), is a 6-week summer program that provides support to women entering the Francis College of Engineering with coursework, project work, mentoring, and networking with local companies and alumni.
The mentoring continues during their undergraduate studies.
The Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Learning and Living Community (LLC) houses and supports women studying Engineering or Science and provides access to unique resources to help students navigate the challenges women may face on their career pathway, including dedicated faculty advisors.
Furthermore, free tutoring is provided to all first-year students in physics, chemistry, calculus and economics.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE): The Society of Women Engineers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell is a collegiate section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) organization.
Their goal is to give women studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at UMass Lowell the resources to make the most out of college and beyond.
Weekly events and activities include professional development, social, outreach, philanthropy, and stress relief
Graduate Society of Women Engineers
The Graduate Society of Women Engineers (GradSWE): is a “subgroup” of SWE dedicated to supporting the potentially different needs and interests of graduate students.
Thus, they work closely with SWE, but also pursue tailored programming.
Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers
The Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (SHPE): was founded in 1974 and is the leading social-technical organization whose primary function is to enhance and achieve the potential of Hispanics in engineering, math and science.
SHPE aims to fulfill their mission by increasing educational opportunities, promoting professional and personal growth, carry out a social responsibility to be involved in education, business and government issues and enhancing pride within the organization and reinforcing its reputation as a vital Hispanic organization.
This UMass Lowell student chapter provides numerous opportunities for members to volunteer in the community, develop professional skills, and socially interact.
They annually send students to regional and national conferences.
National Society of Black Engineers
With more than 30,000 members, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), is one of the largest student-managed organization in the country.
The NSBE is comprised of more than 233 chapters on college and university campuses, 65 Alumni Extension chapters nationwide and 89 Pre-College chapters. These chapters are geographically divided into six regions.
The UMass Lowell student chapter is one of over 200 in the country.
In addition to hosting professional development, outreach and social activities, the group sends students to regional and national conferences for further development.
Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM (WAVES)
Making WAVES: (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM) is an initiative to increase the diversity of faculty in STEM fields at UMass Lowell funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program.
The $3.5 million, five-year grant is for an institutional transformation program to disrupt interpersonal and institutional microaggressions, establish innovative mentoring approaches, and promote equitable policies and procedures.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, Household Data: Annual Averages; Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. TED: Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. January 19, 2018. It can be accessed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
2Yoder, B. L. (2018) Engineering by the Numbers. American Society for Engineering Education. It can be accessed on the ASEE website.