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Icon for: Meseret Hailu

MESERET HAILU

Ohio State University

Why We Persist: An Intersectional Study to Characterize and Examine the Exper...

NSF Awards: 1712618

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Adult learners

This paper focuses on the data and findings from a study titled, "Why We Persist: An Intersectional Study to Characterize and Examine the Experiences of Women Tenure-Track Faculty in Engineering." In this presentation, the authors will focus on qualitative findings. The participants in this study include 53 tenured/tenure-track women faculty (including White women, who were included as a comparison group) in engineering departments in university across the nation. Interviewees were typically at the rank of Assistant Professor (n=14), Associate Professor (n=9), and upper level administrators, including department head, assistant provost, and vice president for research. The sample included primarily women who identified as Black (n=16), Asian (n=13), or Latina (n=12). Additionally, the participants represented a wide spectrum of engineering fields, including: biomedical, industrial, chemical, software, and civil. 

 

 

In terms of preliminary findings, the authors draw from Thomas, Johnson-Bailey, Phelps, Tran, & Johnson's (2013) conceptual model of "pet to threat" to argue that women of color encounter tremendous challenges in engineering departments, compared to their White and male counterparts. These challenges include isolation, suspicion, and hostility. Cumulatively, these aspects of faculty life make persistence in the academy arduous for women of color. Implications for institutional climate and hiring practices are also discussed.

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