Attracting and Retaining Women in Undergraduate Engineering Programs – A Case Study

Ahmed Imran, Mohamed Kalil, Fahar Hayati
2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
Professor Fahar Hayati graduated with B.Eng.(Hons) in Electronic Engineering from Sheffield University in 1966. He received his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University in 1971. Since 1969 Professor Hayati has worked both in industry and in university in several countries. With a career stretching over 45 years he made vast contributions as an academic, researcher and consultant. His experience in engineering education extends over a period of more than 30 years. Professor Hayati has been the Dean of
more » ... been the Dean of College of Engineering at Ajman University 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.
doi:10.18260/1-2--20110 fatcat:vew7khrheveu5efc6a5i44b7xi