Purdue News

February 1, 2005

Purdue tops in engineering technology degrees for women

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue's College of Technology awards more engineering technology degrees to women than any other university or college in the country, according to a recent report.

Michelle Lytle, at left,
and Christina Wiwi

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A survey of engineering technology programs conducted by the American Society for Engineering Education showed that Purdue awarded 60 bachelor's degrees in engineering technology to women during the 2002-03 school year, the highest in the country. Purdue's College of Technology also tied for first in the total number of degrees in awarded – 364.

Purdue was followed in the rankings by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at No. 2 with 53 female graduates. IUPUI's engineering and technology programs are administered by Purdue and grant Purdue degrees, however, they are offered independently from the College of Technology at the West Lafayette campus.

The survey results were published in the January issue of Prism, the monthly magazine of the society that promotes engineering and technology education. Engineering technology is the field that applies scientific and engineering principles to industrial applications and problems.

"I am proud that the College of Technology is leading the way in opening the doors of engineering technology to a wider range of students, including bringing more women to the field," Dennis R. Depew, dean of the college. "The degrees offered by the departments of mechanical engineering technology and electrical and computer technology are some of the most popular at Purdue, and graduates from the programs – both men and women – are some of the university's most successful alumni."

Purdue's 60 graduates was almost twice the number of female graduates from the No. 4 university and accounted for more than 16 percent of the total number of engineering technology degrees awarded. Nationally, 11 percent of degrees in the field were earned by women.

"Purdue's College of Technology is one of the largest in the nation, and that gives us the largest responsibility to take steps to improve the diversity in the whole range of technology fields," Depew said. "We have taken several steps – increasing recruitment of female students and designing a class to improve retention of female students – to open technology study and careers to women, and will continue to make further efforts."

The class, Women in Technology: Exploring the Possibilities, is designed to provide female students in the college with an understanding of the challenges of working in a male-dominated field, strategies for meeting those challenges and providing a support network for the students as they progress in their studies. Students also are able to meet and hear from alumnae and other women currently working in technology positions.

The in-class speakers often help connect students to internship and job opportunities, which several students take advantage of each semester, further helping with retention.

The class is taught by Mara H. Wasburn, an assistant professor of organizational leadership and supervision, and Susan G. Miller, an associate professor of computer graphics technology.

Depew said not only was the number of women graduates a point of pride for the college, but also that awarding more degrees than any other university speaks to the quality of the engineering technology programs at Purdue.

"We compare ourselves with other major universities to guarantee that we offer the best technology education available to our students," Depew said. "Quantity does not guarantee quality, but our enrollment is a testament to the quality education that our students have come to expect."

Other major universities included in the top 10 were: Rochester Institute of Technology at No. 7, Texas A&M University at No. 8 and University of Southern Mississippi at No. 9.

Ferris State University tied with Purdue by also awarding 364 bachelor's degrees.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the founding of Purdue's College of Technology, the first of its kind in the country. The college comprises eight departments: aviation technology, building construction management, computer graphics technology, computer technology, electrical and computer engineering technology, industrial technology, mechanical engineering technology, and organizational leadership and supervision. The college educates more than 6,000 undergraduate students at eight locations throughout Indiana.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, mholsapple@purdue.edu

Source: Dennis R. Depew, (765) 494-2552, drdepew@purdue.edu

Mara H. Wasburn, (765) 494-5611, mwasburn@purdue.edu

Susan G. Miller, (765) 496-1709, miller5@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

 

PHOTO CAPTION:
Michelle Lytle, at left, and Christina Wiwi, both seniors in computer-integrated manufacturing technology, use a laboratory robot to demonstrate mechanical engineering technology concepts and applications. Computer-integrated manufacturing technology is one of three College of Technology programs that has been recognized as awarding the most bachelor's degrees in engineering technology, both to women and to all students. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2005/technology-rankings.jpg

 

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