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Diversity

For more publications on this topic please visit the Ethics Education Library.

Web Sites

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

Association for Women in Science

Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine of the National Academies

Engineer Girl!

National Society of Black Engineers

National Society of Black Physicists

Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science

Society of Women Engineers.

Statistics about Women and Minorities in Science from the National Science Foundation

Books

Beyond bias and barriers: Fulfilling the potential of women in academic science and engineering. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2007.

A report by the National Academy of Sciences discussing strategies and best practices for helping to attract and sustain women students, faculty, and practitioners in the sciences.

Byers, Nina and Garry Williams. 2006. Out of the shadows: Contributions of twentieth-century women to physics.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This volume explores the many women who overcame discrimination and became major players in the field of physics in the twentieth century.

Bystydzienski, Jill M. and Sharon R. Bird. 2006. Removing barriers: Women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

The essays in this collection examine the persistence and seeming intractability of the under-representation of women in academic STEM areas, discusses the successes and failures of current programs meant to help increase the number of women going into these fields, and offers some guidance on how universities, professional organizations, and government institutions can effectively approach and find solutions to these problems.

Ceci, Stephen J. and Wendy M. Williams (eds.). 2007. Why aren’t more women in science?: Top researchers debate the evidence. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

In a collection of fifteen essays, top researchers on gender differences in ability explore the latest research and questions raised about the small number of women in scientific fields.

Fort, Deborah, Stephanie J. Bird and Catherine J. Didion. 2005. A hand up: Women mentoring women in science.Washington, D.C.: Association of Women in Science.

Beginning with interviews of women working in the fields of science, math, and engineering, this book identifies the personal and professional challenges faced by women in these fields, offers advice on how to deal with these challenges, and provides a list of over 100 feminist and education organizations that support women in the sciences.

Land of plenty: Diversity as America’s competitive edge in science, engineering and technology. United States: Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development, 2000.

Report examines the challenges faced by women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities in the fields of science, engineering and technology, and discusses changes that need to be made in the education and practice of these fields to surmount these challenges.

Malcom, Shirley M., Daryl E. Chubin and Jolene K. Jesse. 2004. Standing our ground: A guidebook for STEM educators in the Post-Michigan era.Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This report provides legal guidance on two Michigan rules that affirmed the importance of a diverse learning environment, but struck down the use of race as a quantitative “plus factor” in undergraduate admissions decisions. The report discusses what these rulings mean for university departments that have programs that try to bring minority and women students into the disciplines of engineering and science, and best practices for the development of these kinds of programs.

Nelson, Donna J. 2007. A national analysis of diversity in science and engineering faculties at research universities. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma.

Report gives the results of a survey of the top 50 departments in fourteen science and engineering disciplines to discover the number and status of women and minority tenure and tenure-track faculty at major research universities in the United States.

Seymour, Elaine and Nancy M. Hewitt. 1998. Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Abstracts of chapters:

Review of Findings: The Problem Iceberg

The Problems of Women in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering

The Problems of Minority Group Students in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering

Students Speak Out: Quotes about Switching (Abstract of Section)

Student Quotes on Bad Teaching (Abstract of Section)


Sheffield, Suzanne Le-May. 2005. Women and science: Social impact and interaction. Rutgers University Press.

Collection of essays discussing the important contributions of women scientists from the eighteenth to the twentieth century and also examines the challenges and barriers women scientists have faced in Western science.

Thorn, Mary. 2001. Balancing the equation: Where are women and girls in science, engineering and technology? Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

A report looking at hundreds of programs with the goal of attracting and retaining women in science and engineering, that identifies best practices for these kinds of programs. Includes a large number of statistics about women in these fields.

 
Articles

Allen. A. 1998. The role model argument and faculty diversity. The Journal of Higher Education. http://www,onlineethics.org/CMS/workplace/workplacediv/abstractsindex-
/fac-diverse.aspx.

Article examines the responsibility of institutions to provide diverse faculty that will provide role models for minorities.

Anderson, Vivian. 1995. Identifying special advising needs of women engineering students. Journal of College Student Development: 322-329.

Bailyn, Lotte. 1986. Experiencing technical work: A comparison of male and female engineers. Cambridge, MA: Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Barres, Ben A. 2006. Does gender matter? Nature. 442:7099: 133-136.

Article reflects on the comments made by Harvard President Larry Summers that suggested that women have an innate inability towards achieving science advancement.

Begley, Sharon. 2006. He, once a she, offers own view on science spat. Wall Street Journal. 248:10: B1-B5.

Being first a female scientist and then a male scientist has given Prof. Barres, a neurobiologist at Stanford University, a unique perspective on the debate over why women are so rare at the highest levels of academic science and math: He has experienced personally how each is treated by colleagues, mentors and rivals.

Bickenstaff, Jacob Clark. 2005. Women in science careers: Leaky pipeline or gender filter? Gender & Education. 17(4): 369-386.

The author reviews the literature looking at a broad array of explanations for the absence of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and discusses how the very nature of science may contribute to the removal of women from these fields. The author also makes recommendations for the reform of science education to address this problem.

Bonetta, Laura. 2010. Reaching gender equity in science: The importance of role models and mentors. Science. 327(5967): 889-895.

The article discusses gender equity in science and the importance of role models and mentors for women scientists.

Bonetta, Laura. 2009. The road to diversity: Are we there yet? Science. 324(5926) 540-544.

Article discusses the emerging prominence of women and members of racial minorities in U.S. academic science.

Bouville, Mathieu. 2008. Is diversity good?: Six possible conceptions of diversity and six possible answers. Science and Engineering Ethics. 14: 51-63.

The author discusses the many ways the concept of diversity can be construed, and how each of these ideas can differ greatly in their nature and properties. The author discusses how diversity as an instrumental good can give rise to policies, the weaknesses of these policies, and finally considers the example of female enrollment in science and engineering, interpreting the various arguments found in the literature in light of this policies.

Bouville, Mathieu. 2008. On enrolling more students in science and engineering. Science and Engineering Ethics. 14(2): 279-290.

The article looks at a discrepancy in arguments usually used in how universities should enroll more female students in science and engineering. It is not that universities should try and recruit as many female students as possible into the scientific disciplines, but rather to allow female students the freedom of choice in deciding what field she wishes to go to. In other words, looking for ways to remove barriers that may stop females students from choosing majoring in the sciences over another field.

Brumfiel, Geoff. 2008. Data shows extent of sexism in physics. Nature 452:7190: 1.

Article discussing a study showing institutional sexism at an experiment at one of America’s highest-profile physics labs.

Davis, Cinda-Sue G. and Cynthia J. Finelli. 2007. Diversity and retention in engineering. New Directions for Teaching & Learning. 111: 63-71.

The authors describe three initiatives designed to increase the academic achievement and retention of historically underrepresented students in engineering.

Felder, Richard M, et al. 1995. A longitudinal study of engineering student performance and retention. III. Gender difference in student performance and attitudes. Journal of Engineering Education. 84(2): 151-163.

Fox, Mary, Gerhard Sonnert, and Irina Nikiforova. 2009. Successful programs for undergraduate women in science and engineering: Adapting versus adopting the institutional environment. Research in Higher Education. 50(4): 333-353.

In this study of programs offered by universities for undergraduate women in science and engineering, the authors found that programs that regarded issues, problems and solutions as rooted in institutional/structured centered as opposed to individual/student centered had more positive outcomes in the number of undergraduate degrees awarded to women in science and engineering.

Harding, S. G. 1993. The "racial" economy of science : Toward a democratic future. Race, Gender, and Science. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, pp. xiv, 526 p.

Hernes, Robby. Et al. 1995. Improving the academic environment for women engineering students through faculty workshops. Journal of Engineering Education. 84(1): 59-67.

Hopewell, Lindsey, Connie L. McNeely, Erik W. Kuiler, Jon-on Hahm. 2009. University leaders and the public agenda: Talking about women and diversity in STEM fields. Review of Policy Research. 26(5): 589-607.

The authors describe a study undertaken to investigate public statements and pronouncements from leaders at various universities to gain insight into institutional values and environments relative to women and their participation and advancement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and other disciplinary fields. The authors found that while gender equality is addressed as a separate topic in its own right, university leaders raise issues of gender in the context of STEM participation primarily in conjunction only with other topics. As expected, the data also support arguments suggesting diversity in general as an important goal espoused in the rhetoric of university representatives. Questions remain, however, concerning whether these speeches presage concrete institutional commitments and responses relative to the achievement of diversity, gender equality, and gender equity in the STEM professoriate.

Ihsen, Susanne, and Sabrina Gebaur. 2009. Diversity issues in the engineering curriculum. European Journal of Engineering Education. 34(5): 419-424.

The authors discuss the importance of teaching engineering students about diversity issues as part of the curriculum of the engineering program. By teaching them what is meant by diversity and what it means for their (professional) lives sensitizes them towards more responsibility. The idea is to connect diversity issues with technical subjects. Topics like technical development, human-machine communication or power management and other topics relevant to society are ideal for this purpose.

Johnson, Angela. 2005. Policy implications of supporting women in the sciences. Journal of Women, Politics and Society. 27(5): 135-150.

Article discusses a study on the influence of the University of Colorado Minority Arts and Sciences Program supporting women science students of color through graduate, and the values, dispositions, and goals of these women. Author also discusses the implications of supporting women of color interested in science to the program.

Johnson, Angela C. 2007. Unintended consequences. How science professors discourage women of color. Science Education. 91(5): 805-821.

This study examined how sixteen Black, Latina, and American Indian women science students reacted to their undergraduate science classes. The research took place at a large, predominantly White research university; participants were recruited from a science enrichment program for high-achieving students. Through interviews and attending classes with the students, the author found that the women in the study found three features of science classes particularly discouraging: the size of the lecture classes, asking and answering questions in class, and (in some cases) engaging in undergraduate research. They were negatively impacted by two cultural values: a narrow focus on decontextualized science and the construction of science as a gender-, ethnicity- and race-neutral meritocracy.

Kahveci, Ajda, Sherry A. Southerland, and Penny J. Gilmer. 2006. Retaining undergraduate women in science, mathematics and engineering. Journal of College Science Teaching. 36(3): 34-38.

Discusses the effectiveness of a program in retaining women in science, mathematics and engineering programs.

Laefer, Debra F. 2009. Gender disparity in engineering as a function of physics enrollment and its implications for civil engineering. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice. 135(3): 95-101.

This paper focuses primarily on women in secondary education in terms of both attitudes toward and enrollment levels in pre-engineering courses such as calculus, chemistry, and physics. Additional consideration is given to enrollment and achievement in advanced placement courses, as reflected in national examination rates. This paper concludes that secondary school participation and achievement in physics courses is a critical differential factor as one explanatory element of female engineering enrollment levels and provides specific recommendations as to how to increase interest, enrollment, and achievement in physics, including the segregation of entry-level engineering courses based on previous experience.

Lisa, Tsui. 2007. Effective strategies to increase diversity in STEM fields: A review of the research literature. Journal of Negro Education. 76(4): 555-581.

Based on a literature review, the author discusses ten intervention strategies commonly adopted by universities who are striving for diversity in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The author also discusses three model programs, the Meyerhoff Program, the Minority Engineering Program, and the Mathematics Workshop, and concludes with a discussion of recommendations for future action and research.

Male, Sally A., Mark B. Bush, and Kevin Murray. 2009. European Journal of Engineering Education. 34(5): 455-464.

Engineering education needs to develop the competencies required for engineering work, and to attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds. This study sought to investigate the possibility that the perceived importance of competencies is subconsciously influenced by gender assumptions, and this may lead to a lowering in the status given to stereotypically feminine competencies. Reports from a series of surveys of engineers found that there are stereotypically feminine competencies that are important to engineering, and suggested that senior male engineers in the study gender typed engineering jobs, consequently under-rating the importance of some stereotypically feminine competencies recently added to the engineering curricula.

Newberry, Byron. Katherine Austin, William Lawson , Greta Gorsuch and Thomas Darwin. Acclimating international graduate students to professional engineering ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics. (Electronic Pre-publication version).

This article describes the education portion of an ongoing grant-sponsored education and research project designed to help graduate students in all engineering disciplines learn about the basic ethical principles, rules, and obligations associated with engineering practice in the United States. While the curriculum developed for this project is used for both domestic and international students, the educational materials were designed to be sensitive to the specific needs of international graduate students.

Rayman, Paula and Belle Brett. 1995. Women science majors: What makes a difference in persistence after graduation? Journal of Higher Education. 66(4): 388-414.

 
Sonnert, Gerhard, Mary Frank Fox, and Kristen Adkins. 2007. Undergraduate women in science and engineering: Effects of faculty, fields, and institutions over time. Social Science Quarterly. 88(5): 1333-1356.

A study showing the power of role models in attracting and retaining women students in the fields of science and engineering.

Townley, Cynthia. 2010. More on enrolling female students in science and engineering. Science and Engineering Ethics. (Published electronically. http://www.springerlink.com/- content/ 3v675r2216304862/)

This paper investigates reasons for practices and policies that are designed to promote higher levels of enrolment by women in scientific disciplines. It challenges the assumptions and problematic arguments of a recent article questioning their legitimacy. Considering the motivations for and merits of such programs suggests a practical response to the question of whether there should be programs to attract female science and engineering students.

Zimmerman, Julia Beth and Jorge Vanegas. 2007. Using sustainability education to enable the increase of diversity in science, engineering, and technology-related disciplines. International Journal of Engineering Education. 23(2): 242-253.

The authors discuss how teaching about sustainable development in science, engineering, and technology related fields can help attract women and minority students to these disciplines.

Developed for the National Academy of Engineering, Online Ethics Center. Last Updated 4/15/2010.