research and professional development resources aimed at addressing issues of underrepresentation within the profession.
While ASCE will continue to partner with allied organizations in efforts to expand the number of individuals from underrepresented groups that enter the engineering profession, CDI recently adopted a strategic focus to target ASCE’s efforts on the retention (rather than recruitment) of women and those from underrepresented groups in the civil engineering pipeline and workforce. Within the past year, CDI has leveraged relationships with the EWC and the BLS to share baseline data with members, staff, and partners in an effort to raise awareness around the status of underrepresented talent within the civil engineering pipeline and workforce.
We plan to increase retention by supporting more career exploration and professional development initiatives with our diversity partners. Our strategy also calls for us to introduce leading civil engineering employers to successful programs like the National GEM Consortium’s GEM Fellowships, and leveraging webinars to share contemporary research similar to the 2011 report by Dr. Nadya Faoud and Dr. Romila Singh entitled Stemming The Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering and the recent WEPAN hosted webinar entitled Stereotype Threat-The Nature and Nurture of Intelligence, facilitated by an internationally recognized expert on the subject, Dr. Joshua Aronson.
The following are a few key recommendations that would support ASCE’s efforts to increase the career satisfaction of talent currently underrepresented in the civil engineering workforce:
• Increase the body of knowledge and related symposia around the unique ways that race, ethnicity, and gender intersect in the experiences of faculty and students, similar to those explored in original report authored by Dr. Shirley Malcolm The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science report and the 2009 CEOSE-sponsored Mini Symposium on Women of Color in STEM, focused on personal testimonies and proven interventions aimed at unraveling the double bind. We strongly recommend that a focus on proven interventions that increase retention are a crucial part of this body of knowledge.
• Encourage the active engagement of STEM professional societies and industry in support of policies and legislation similar to H.R. 4483, the “Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act.” This bill aims to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who receive undergraduate degrees in STEM disciplines. It also seeks to increase the number of STEM faculty members from underrepresented groups at institutions of higher education.
• Leverage professional societies and academic leadership to conduct research aimed at identifying and promoting strategies that help students transition into professional practice.
At ASCE, we view engineering not about NOW, but NEXT, and consider the issue of underrepresentation in STEM a critical workforce issue that our nation must solve if we are to lead the world in innovation and thus sustained economic prosperity. We applaud the organizers of this and similarly focused symposia for your urgent, action-oriented and visionary approaches