A recent study by The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities showed us a snapshot of diversity across engineering education and a glimpse of where we’ve improved in promoting racial and gender equity — and where we have work to do.
Here’s what they found in their Status Report on Engineering Education:
→ Despite large numerical increases for Hispanic and Black students, these two groups along with American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI) students remain significantly underrepresented in engineering at the undergraduate and graduate level.
→ From 2010-11 to 2015-16 there was a massive increase in Non-U.S. Resident graduates in engineering at all levels, especially master’s degree where this group is now the majority of master’s degree earners.
→ The gender disparity transcends underrepresented racial groups and majority groups in similar ways with women earning fewer degrees than men, even though in 2015-2016, the majority of degree earners in all fields of study combined are female.
→ At the institutional level there is a high concentration of underrepresented racial groups in a small number of institutions which contrast with a large number of institutions with little to no racial or ethnic diversity in their engineering programs.
→ States with majority-minority or emerging majority-minority college age population are failing to educate a large enough share of their URG students in engineering.
→ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) continue to play an important role in educating Black and Hispanic students in engineering.
Part of our mission is to increase racial and gender representation by encouraging quality engineering education for all learners, beginning in kindergarten and elementary school. Especially important is making sure those learners see themselves in the lessons they use, so we design our units with diverse characters based on real-world connections. Let us know in the comments below: what ways do you promote engineering equity in your classrooms?