Keeping current: An update on the structure and evaluation of a program for graduate women interested in engineering Academia

Nicole D. Jackson, Kaitlin I. Tyler, Yanfen Li, Wan Ting Chen, Chaoyang Liu, Rohit Bhargava

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


According to data from ASEE, women were awarded 23.1% of doctoral degrees and held 15.7% of tenured/tenuretrack faculty faculty positions in 2015 versus 21.3% and 12.7% in 2009, respectively [1, 2]. While promising, the leaky pipeline remains a persistent problem in the recruitment of underrepresented people into tenure track positions. To help overcome this barrier, engineering graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created the Illinois Female Engineers in Academia Training (iFEAT) program to improve the competitiveness of underrepresented applicants in the tenure-track faculty recruitment process. The program is two-fold. First, seminars and panel discussions lead by faculty representing different engineering disciplines cover a variety of topics related to the job search process. Secondly, peer review sessions over the course of several months allow students to develop their own application materials. Since its founding in 2014, the program has been evaluated by considering four elements: content, format, pace, and climate. The evaluations in the first two years were based on conducting pre-, mid-, and post-surveys as well as voluntary one-on-one exit interviews. For the programs third year, we made significant changes based past participant feedback. Specific topics were expanded to increase understanding and improve familiarity with the application process. The evaluation structure was revised to increase the amount of immediate feedback. In this paper, we discuss how the program has evolved over the three years as well as how our methods for program monitoring have been revised. By incorporating these changes, we hope to continue to prepare high quality female faculty candidates, thereby diminishing the gender gap in engineering academia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017
Event124th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Columbus, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 28 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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