Published in 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings, June 20, 2010, pages 15.613.1-15.613.8.
Under-representation of women in engineering is of concern as the decreasing supply of qualified engineers continues to plague the nation’s advancement. Understanding what factors influence choices of engineering disciplines has the potential for altering education to accommodate a more diverse student body that can be successful in engineering. University statistics reflect that the Architectural Engineering program at this school is comprised of 35% women, while the other engineering programs attract at best 20% women and at worst 5% women. The Architectural Engineering program at this university is in fact one of the most intense structural engineering programs in the country requiring 203 quarter units to complete and upper division courses in integrated design of buildings using concrete, steel, wood and masonry along with seismic design of buildings. The department is however housed in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design rather than the College of Engineering. This overall research study explores the learning styles of different engineering disciplines and the learning styles preferred by students who select these disciplines as academic majors and careers. The work in progress centers on surveys of students in engineering programs at this university. A preliminary survey of women in the ARCE department was administered to discover why these women personally chose ARCE as a major, why they persist in the major, and why they think women are so largely represented in the major. A more detailed survey will follow from this work which specifically investigates the three components of the integrated learning style taxonomy – motivation, engagement and learning processes of both women and men in the ARCE department. Future work will investigate other engineering disciplines that represent maximum differential in representation of women from that of ARCE at this university as well as engineering programs at other universities.
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