Evidence-based planning to broaden the participation of women in electrical and computer engineering
The percentages of women in undergraduate electrical and computer engineering programs at Iowa State University averages below the national average. An external assessment of diversity and inclusion provided an impetus for faculty, staff and administrators to discuss issues, focus on specific areas, and collaborate on planning. In particular, the department has teamed up with the university's Program for Women in Science and Engineering to better integrate their programs with departmental activities. This has resulted in an enhanced student experience model being designed for undergraduate ECE women. The model leverages effective practices including learning communities, leadership and professional development, academic support and advising for the ISU Engineering Basic Program, academic preparation for the ECE field, and state and national resources for inclusive ECE career awareness, recruiting and teaching. The WI-ECSEL Initiative has been designed to improve diversity and inclusion in Iowa State's electrical, computer, and software engineering programs; improve educational pathways including transfer transitions from community colleges; provide a supportive and integrated student experience; establish a community of practice for faculty; and use research to inform practice.