'Doing science' rather than 'being scientists' more encouraging to girls

New York University 6 February 2019


Researchers have found that describing science as an action rather than identity leads to more girls engaging with it. Worth keeping in mind when we’re looking to get girls interested in engineering before they decide that it’s not for them.

 

'Doing science' rather than 'being scientists' more encouraging to girls

In VR boys learn best when the teacher is a drone – girls learn better from Virtual Marie

University of Copenhagen 8 January 2019

University of Copenhagen studies have shown that virtual reality (VR)- learning where students train in certain skills via simulations can be more effective than regular classroom or online teaching. In another study, researchers found that girls learnt most when taught by a female VR teacher while boys learnt more from a drone. Interesting, could a virtual role model help encourage girls into STEM study and careers?

In VR boys learn best when the teacher is a drone – girls learn better from Virtual Marie

The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology welcomes its second cohort

WES 13 September 2018

950 school leavers applied to study towards the Bachelor of Engineering in General Engineering at the Dyson Institute; 43 were accepted, of whom 40% were female. The students receive a salary and work three days a week in the Dyson Global Engineering Team. Something to consider when looking at how to increase the number of engineering students and provide employers with the skilled workers they need.

The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology welcomes its second cohort

A leading African American female engineer: STEM companies don’t do nearly enough to promote women and minorities

Washington Post 5 September 2018

Engineer Corlis Murray says companies focused on engineering and science, no matter what they are doing now to promote more women and minorities in STEM fields, could be doing more. She notes that 97% of the interns in her company’s high school STEM internship programme go on to tertiary STEM study, and recommends that companies consider the benefits of establishing a similar programme. This type of initiative would certainly make more impact than, for example, a STEM activity day.

A leading African American female engineer: STEM companies don’t do nearly enough to promote women and minorities

The case for community college

Time 1 June 2017

“Community colleges have the potential to become much needed engines of economic and social mobility”. The author looks at the two-year tertiary education model in the USA and the factors which have made some institutions particularly successful, including programme redesign, collaboration with employers, and increased support for students. With a similar skills shortage here, this 2017 article is still relevant in looking at how New Zealand can encourage more students to enrol in and successfully complete polytechnic and institute of technology engineering programmes.

The case for community college

Role models tell girls that STEM's for them in new campaign

New York Times, 9 September 2018

A new US campaign ‘She can STEM’ aims to inspire 11-to-15-year-old girls to continue with STEM subjects. Set up by the Ad Council in collaboration with General Electric, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Verison, it features female employees in STEM fields. This looks promising; it would be interesting to see evaluations of the effectiveness of these types of campaigns.

Role models tell girls that STEM's for them in new campaign

New linear GCSEs could put girls off STEM

TES 24 August 2018

Across the UK, male students outperformed females in the new GCSE (General Certificate of Education) Physics exams. This, says the author, corresponds with a change in which student success after two years' study is based solely on exams. “There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating that girls do better when there’s more regular assessment and coursework – and the GCSE results bear this out”. She notes that this could lead to fewer girls taking Physics, at a time when there is a huge demand for STEM skills. “We need to think carefully about how we can design an assessment method that enables all young people….to achieve their full potential…”

New linear GCSEs could put girls off STEM

Filling in the biggest skills gap

Higher Education Policy Institute 23 August 2018

In this UK report, the author, a university vice-chancellor, considers the skills gap between school-leaving exams and full honours degrees. He urges universities to champion Level 4 to 5 qualifications to enable employees to raise their skills; tackle the needs of employers; and offer a better path for mature students.  We have a similar situation here, but the answer doesn’t lie in incorporating these courses into universities but in raising awareness – and the prestige – of polytechnic and institute of technology qualifications where students already gain these skills.

Filling in the biggest skills gap

Turning research into action

The Mixed Methods Blog 21 August 2018

This article looks at how tertiary institutions can use research evidence to move from theories and principles to tactical change. It includes a toolbox of strategies for a ‘theory-to-action approach’, and emphasises that there is no one ‘right way’ to make change.

Turning research into action

The Architecture of Innovation: system-level course redesign in Tennessee

American Council on Education 2015

This case study explores two examples of ‘curriculum redesign’ in Tennessee which aimed to achieve better learning outcomes for students. The authors note the key learnings are: recognising that context and governance matter; using data analytics to guide innovation; creating space for innovation; setting expectations; and promoting collective action.

The Architecture of Innovation: system-level course redesign in Tennessee

A welcome upgrade to apprenticeships

The Economist 12 July 2018

In writing about the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s new degree apprenticeship programme, the author considers the advantages of this learning model and how it tackles “an ancient and ridiculous British class divide”. Hopefully a pilot degree apprenticeship in New Zealand will also change perceptions around vocational training and whether students go to a university or polytechnic.

A welcome upgrade to apprenticeships

Why I don't want my child to be an apprentice

TES 03 June 2018

The author says he passionately supports apprenticeships but is having second thoughts about his own daughter taking one. He looks at the barriers for would-be apprentices, including “a vocational education system that’s “ok” but not something I’d want my kid to do.”, and what needs to be changed. This is a UK story – but how similar would it be to the situation here?

Why I don't want my child to be an apprentice

Reaping the benefits of an aging workforce

The New York Times, 2 March 2018

An increasing number of people want to continue in the workforce past retirement age, at the same time that some industries face skills shortages. This article looks at some practical measures employers have introduced to support older workers.

These include: offering less physically strenuous roles, providing training and education opportunities, flexible scheduling and intergenerational mentoring programmes – which include younger employees mentoring older ones.

Reaping the benefits of an aging workforce

Closing gender gap in physics 'will take generations'

BBC 20 April 2018

University of Melbourne researchers said it would take generations to close the gender gap in male-dominated scientific fields. However, they noted, a number of practical interventions such as better access to parental leave and career breaks could help close the gap.

While some New Zealand employers and educators are already developing strategies to recruit, retain and promote women, these suggestions are helpful for those wanting to make a start or progress further.

Closing gender gap in physics 'will take generations'

"Kids are born scientists" - Souxsie Wiles talks STEM and sexism

New Zealand Herald, 7 April 2018

Scientist Souxsie Wiles notes that when people have similar backgrounds and life experiences they tend to come up with similar ideas for solutions or are interested in what they perceive as important problems. “This means lots of really good ideas and solutions get missed, and lots of really important problems end up not being tackled.”

"Kids are born scientists" - Souxsie Wiles talks STEM and sexism

Marketplace

Skills Development Scotland, 2017

Skills Development Scotland’s online tool Marketplace connects schools and colleges with businesses. Employers can pass on knowledge of their sector through workshops, talks, workplace visits or placements. Interesting to see other initiatives aimed at inspiring school students by making them aware of opportunities available in industry.

Marketplace

Glimmers of hope for women in the male-dominated tech industry

Bloomberg.com, 8 March 2018

This article states that more young US women are studying computer science than in the past. It notes that some tertiary institutions are asking high school teachers to talk up their software engineering programmes. Reinforces that women are interested in these careers when they’re exposed to what’s involved and future opportunities.

Glimmers of hope for women in the male-dominated tech industry

National Networks for Collaborative Outreach scheme: publication of monitoring and evaluation reports

Higher Education Funding Council for England, 4 August 2017

The National Networks for Collaborative Outreach aimed to ensure all state-funded secondary schools and colleges knew how to access higher education outreach activity, and to simplify the way in which they could do so. The monitoring and evaluation reports look at how this was achieved.

National Networks for Collaborative Outreach scheme: publication of monitoring and evaluation reports

Engineers recruited for term-time only contracts

Stuff Business Day, October 2017

Infrastructure firm AECOM is offering parents 12 weeks leave a year so they can spend school holidays with their kids. This initiative seems a sensible way to retain skilled staff in the work force.

Engineers recruited for term-time only contracts

Skills for the future

Skills Development Scotland, June 2017

Business leaders from across Scotland who attended an industry event heard about skills needed for the future and the impact of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’. Interesting comments about developing skills and capabilities for an environment of constant change, and the work-based learning and apprenticeships. 

 

Skills for the future

Skills investment plan

Skills Development Scotland, August 2014

This document outlines the Scottish government’s plan for the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. It was developed in consultation with industry and covers: the importance of the sector; key skills issues; developing an action plan; monitoring and evaluation. 

 

Skills investment plan

Ireland's national skills strategy 2025

Department of Education and Skills, 27 January 2017

This strategy forms an integral part of the Irish government’s long-term economic plan to restore full employment and build a sustainable economy. It includes: changing skills in a changing world; present and potential labour markets; education and training. 

 

Ireland's national skills strategy 2025

New models of tertiary education

The Productivity Commission, March 2017

This report refers to the advantage of micro-credentials – a model of tertiary learning. We commissioned research into these micro-credentials, and are particularly interested in Level 4-6 courses. edX offers short Master’s courses delivered by various international tertiary institutions.

Micro-credentials: a model for engineering education
edX

New models of tertiary education

Women are less likely to study STEM subjects - but disadvantaged women are even less so

The London School of Economics and Political Science, 10 July 2017

The author says that the gender divide in STEM study is more complicated than many previously thought and that young women’s social circumstances play a key role in whether they choose to study STEM at tertiary level. Interesting article, particularly the suggestion that perhaps STEM careers promotions should be targeting less advantaged girls in particular.

Women are less likely to study STEM subjects - but disadvantaged women are even less so

Tech company video ads still dominated by white males

Springer, 27 June 2017

A study shows under-representation of women and minorities in technology video advertising might be linked to a less diverse workforce.  Although the study looked at the effect of stereotypes in the field of computer science, its findings would also apply to the engineering sector. 

Tech company video ads still dominated by white males

'Focus on creativity, not maths and physics' to open up engineering

Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 22 May 2017

Many young people are excluded from studying engineering because they haven’t formally studied Maths and Physics. One suggestion is for a radical overhaul of entry into engineering degree courses with more of a focus on creativity. The article considers actions which could lead more people into engineering such as: highlighting the people-focused, problem-solving and creative aspects of engineering, foundation courses and mentoring.

 

 

'Focus on creativity, not maths and physics' to open up engineering

Simple math is why Elon Musk’s companies keep doing what others don’t even consider possible

Quartz 10 May 2017

The author discusses how ground-breaking discoveries are based on building up our grasp of science and technology, and looks at some of Elon Musk’s projects as examples. An interesting read which should also appeal to school students.

Simple math is why Elon Musk’s companies keep doing what others don’t even consider possible

Creating the student-centred university

Georgia State University, 22 February 2017

Tim Renick discusses Georgia State University’s changed approach to supporting students and the consequent rise in graduation rates amongst minority groups. It’s inspiring to see how students who are typically under-represented in tertiary education can be supported to enrol and succeed; and no reason why some of these changes couldn’t be implemented here. 

Creating the student-centred university

Parlour guides to equitable practice

Parlour, 24 April 2015

Parlour, an online Australian forum for women in architecture, produced these guides aimed at making for a more inclusive profession, one which helps female and male architects. The guides cover pay equity, long hours, part-time work, flexibility, recruitment, career progression, negotiation, career break, leadership, mentoring and registration – much of which applies to careers in engineering.

 

Parlour guides to equitable practice

Thinking like an engineer: implications for the education system

Royal Academy of Engineering May 2014

This report identifies six engineering habits of mind and suggests ways in which the education system might be redesigned to develop engineers more effectively. Some interesting findings which could well be applied in the New Zealand context.

 

Thinking like an engineer: implications for the education system

Parents' enthusiasm for science boosts teens' exam scores

Physics World 21 February 2017

This article from the Institute of Physics looks at research which found that teenagers with parents who conveyed the importance of STEM subjects achieved higher scores in university preparatory exams. This emphasises the importance of raising awareness of STEM careers and in parents as well as students.

Parents' enthusiasm for science boosts teens' exam scores

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016

World Economic Forum, 25 October 2016

This report measures and analyses the global gender gap, ranking performance by region and country. Information and comments around gender parity and economic development are pertinent to New Zealand’s goal of building a more productive and competitive economy.

 

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016

Best practice guidelines for effective industry engagement in Australian engineering degrees

Australian Council of Engineering Deans, 16 June 2014

The guidelines were developed to improve students’ engagement with engineering practice and increase graduation rates and graduate employability. The recommendations for engineering faculties, industry and other stakeholders include examples of motivating students by providing context and relevance for the theory they are learning. 

 

Best practice guidelines for effective industry engagement in Australian engineering degrees

Advancing women: solving a talent development issue

Lighthouse, 19 January 2017

In this 13-minute TED talk Susan Colantuono, CEO Leading Women, says “If women aren’t proportionately represented throughout your organisation you aren’t facing a women’s issue – you’re facing a talent development issue with business implications.” She emphasises the importance of directing staff demonstrating leadership potential towards opportunities to develop their business strategic and financial acumen.

 

Advancing women: solving a talent development issue

Why do so many women who study engineering leave the field?

Harvard Business Review, 23 August 2016

A study following 700 engineering students found that men and women succeeded equally in the classroom, but more women than men start to doubt their problem-solving abilities and report negative workplace experiences. The article considers why women are more likely to be alienated from a career in engineering than law or medicine.

 

Why do so many women who study engineering leave the field?

New UTSA study addresses lack of American engineers and scientists

The University of Texas at San Antonio 12 August 2016

A new study identifies factors that could lead more students into STEM careers and finds that that many choose other careers because there are so many opportunities before them. It notes that educators can influence those decisions by introducing students to the benefits of a career in science or engineering. This reinforces what we already know – that many students and their families are unaware of the opportunities in engineering and science.

 

New UTSA study addresses lack of American engineers and scientists

Lack of gender balance threatens engineering targets

Modern Building Services, 6 July 2016

“We are hamstringing ourselves as a sector that suffers from a skills shortage to be recruiting from only half of the potential workforce.” This article notes that improving the engineering sector’s gender diversity is absolutely fundamental to future prosperity, and suggests the need for a more flexible approach to recruitment to allow people who have not taken a conventional educational route to join the profession further down the line.

Lack of gender balance threatens engineering targets

For the first time, a US college had more female engineering graduates than men

Science Alert, 24 June 2016

Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College purposefully hires female role models in engineering and is also changing the way it structures its course, so students aren’t broken up into specialities. Interesting to see how changing the image of engineering to a creative, problem-solving profession has made a difference at this institution.

 

For the first time, a US college had more female engineering graduates than men

Why we need more women engineers

LinkedIn, 18 May 2016

We all benefit from tapping into the largest number of creative thinkers and doers, which expands the range of ideas about what problems need to be tackled, says the author. He discusses his institution’s decision to create five schools of engineering focused on multidisciplinary areas. Could a shift in perspective about the content and design of engineering education lead to increased numbers of students?

 

Why we need more women engineers

Women in Stem: How and why an inclusive strategy is critical to closing the STEM talent gap

Kelly Services, 1 May 2016

This report states that reducing female attrition in US STEM fields would help decrease shortages,  improve financial performance and enhance companies’ corporate reputations. While some New Zealand companies are already working to promote diversity, there is still much to learn from these findings.

 

Women in Stem: How and why an inclusive strategy is critical to closing the STEM talent gap

Is engineering outreach to girls even okay?

Start Engineering 13 April 2016

Does engineering deliver on its promises consistently enough to justify the arguments we make to girls about why they should consider entering the field? The article notes that women often leave engineering due to dissatisfaction with pay and promotion opportunities, and are more likely to stay where there is a supportive environment.

 

Is engineering outreach to girls even okay?

China opens a new university every week

BBC, 16 March 2016

In 2013, 40% of Chinese graduates completed their studies in a STEM- related qualification. The graduates who are the cornerstone of economic prosperity in knowledge-based economies are increasingly likely to come from China and India. Food for thought!

 

China opens a new university every week

Building a bridge between engineering and the humanities

The Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 February 2016

 “We know that engineering and the humanities differ not just in subject matter but in the very kinds of thinking they encourage.” Bringing the two fields together, say the authors, will result in more talented and versatile engineers and humanists. Would offering courses that bring different modes of thinking lead to more skilful innovators emerging from academe?

Building a bridge between engineering and the humanities

Engineering graduates mostly work in other fields

Engineers Australia 3 February 2016

Research shows that less than half of Australia’s recent engineering graduates are working in their field, but most of them are likely to work in highly skilled and highly paid jobs. Could we encourage more young people into engineering if we promoted the portability of an engineering qualification?

Engineering graduates mostly work in other fields

Engineering must focus on making science work for people, says Dr Robert Care

The Canberra Times, 1 February 2016

The need to promote STEM subjects in school is well documented, but there is something more fundamental that needs to take place: influencing people with the ability to influence those yet to choose their vocation. The author says that engineering was about benefitting people, and that as engineering is at the heart of STEM, so too it must be in the heart of government.

Engineering must focus on making science work for people, says Dr Robert Care

More graduates completing STEM-related qualifications

Futurefive NZ, 26 January 2016
More students are completing qualifications in STEM-related subjects, and there is a rise in the number of graduates with degrees in engineering and related technologies. The article summarises some of the findings in the report What did they do? The field of study of domestic graduates 2011-2014

 

More graduates completing STEM-related qualifications

How this woman went from being homeless to becoming a top Intel exec shows why you have to chase money sometimes

Business Insider Australia, 2 November, 2015

An Intel exec studied engineering because it leads to a job with great money but has continued with it because she loves the industry. Diversity, she says, is incredibly important when it comes to innovation, and more needs to be done to promote engineering careers for female talent.  This is a good reminder about emphasising all the rewards and opportunities in engineering to help attract a more diverse range of students.

How this woman went from being homeless to becoming a top Intel exec shows why you have to chase money sometimes

What really keeps women out of tech

New York Times, 10 October, 2015

The author comments on research into why fewer women opt to study Computer Science or Engineering and relates it to her own experience. This makes interesting reading, even for those already committed to making change. It provides an insight into what it can be like for women working within a ‘male’ workplace culture and why it’s not just a case of needing to be “tough enough”.

What really keeps women out of tech

Picking your major influences your lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

The University of Kansas, 16 September, 2015

A new study found that graduates majoring in science, technology, engineering or maths achieve higher lifetime earnings that those who studied social science or liberal arts. Emphasising the monetary rewards in studying STEM-related subjects at tertiary level might be a successful strategy for attracting students who might otherwise not consider these fields.

 

Picking your major influences your lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Why engineering should be a woman's game

BBC News, 3 February, 2015

The president of the Royal Academy of Engineering describes how she was inspired to study engineering and why, with a skills shortage and only 7% of engineering professions in the UK being female, other women need that encouragement to get into engineering.

How similar is this to the New Zealand experience? What more should we be doing to encourage diversity and fill the skills shortage here?

Why engineering should be a woman's game

Georgia Tech - statistics and rankings

Georgia Tech website, 2015

Students at Georgia Tech can study online for some Engineering Master’s qualifications. They report on how their programmes rank in the 2015 America’s Best Colleges edition of US News & World Report.

The rankings make interesting reading and show that an institution can deliver qualifications by distance and still be highly regarded

Georgia Tech - statistics and rankings

Female tech leaders create new group to fix Silicon Valley’s diversity problem

Fortune 3 May 2016

Silicon Valley executives talk about the lack of diversity in their ranks but not much is changing. A group of women has unveiled a new initiative which aims to collect and share date as a way to encourage change. Is this something that could be useful in the New Zealand context?

 

Female tech leaders create new group to fix Silicon Valley’s diversity problem

These tech companies are offering internships for mid-career parents

Chicago Tribune 28 August 2016

Some US technology companies are offering a ‘returnship’ for people who have spent at least two years out of the workplace, an initiative which also helps in recruiting from outside the organisation. Could this sort of thing be worthwhile for the technology and engineering sectors here?

 

These tech companies are offering internships for mid-career parents

Picking your major influences your lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

The University of Kansas, 16 September, 2015

A new study found that graduates majoring in science, technology, engineering or maths achieve higher lifetime earnings that those who studied social science or liberal arts. Emphasising the monetary rewards in studying STEM-related subjects at tertiary level might be a successful strategy for attracting students who might otherwise not consider these fields.

Picking your major influences your lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Advancing Women - to provide needed tech sector skills

New Zealand Technology Industry Association, July, 2015

This paper looks at the IT skills shortage, increasing the number of women in the industry, and the various skills and talent development initiatives available. It recommends that organisations considering investing in these sorts of sort of programme should first consider what’s currently active, to avoid fragmenting the effort and limiting overall impact. It makes a lot of sense for organisations to look at what’s already working well and how they can be involved, rather than starting something new that replicates other initiatives.

Advancing Women - to provide needed tech sector skills

Can a new university close the gender gap in engineering?

The Conversation, 12 March, 2015

Set to open in 2017, the New Model in Technology and Engineering will focus on teaching rather than on gaining research funding and aims to admit an equal number of women and men to the programme.  The author says they may find it difficult to obtain gender equality, but the approach to teaching engineering and technology may appeal to female students. Some interesting ideas, could any be incorporated into the delivery of engineering education here?

 

Can a new university close the gender gap in engineering?

Innovative manufacturers get government skills boost

Gov.UK, 27 August, 2015

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has chosen five organisations to test new ways to develop skills for innovation in manufacturing. Each will run a trial programme expected to yield valuable learning that can be shared across the sector to improve innovation and productivity. Interesting projects being run by industry and educational sectors towards the same goal.

Innovative manufacturers get government skills boost

This is what engineers actually look like

New Zealand Herald 6 August, 2015

In response to the often-heard comment “You don’t look like an engineer”, female engineers around the world are posting their image on social media with the hashtag #IlookLikeAnEngineer . Reading this article reinforces the need to not only promote diversity in the engineering sector but to also show it.

This is what engineers actually look like

US millennials know technology but not how to solve problems with it, study says

Education Week, 12 June, 2015

According to a recent study, the US education system isn’t adequately preparing students to use technology for problem-solving. Suggestions for improving the situation, including improving the image of STEM study and careers, are relevant in this country as well.

 

US millennials know technology but not how to solve problems with it, study says

UK needs over one million new engineers and technicians, says Royal Academy of Engineering

The Independent 23 June, 2015

 

Despite the skills shortage, women still account for less than ten percent of the UK engineering sector’s workforce. The National Women in Engineering Day initiative was established in 2014 to inspire girls into engineer. An interesting read about the critical need for greater diversity in the sector which also applies to New Zealand.

 

UK needs over one million new engineers and technicians, says Royal Academy of Engineering

Chinese schools get a lesson from Britain

Design and Technology Association, 12 January, 2015

CEO Richard Green discusses the Design and Technology Association’s invitation to visit China. “While China has excellent academic results, the British curriculum has the upper hand with design – it’s a shame our Government doesn’t recognise this. Interesting comments about attitudes to the UK Design and Technology curriculum, especially as New Zealand students perceived as “academic” are generally not encouraged to continue with Technology education despite our need for more engineers and innovators. 

Chinese schools get a lesson from Britain

We have a communication problem in STEM education

Engineering.Com, 15 May 2015

When educators talk about STEM, they should make it fun, engaging, understandable and awe-inspiring, says the author. He comments on how dry STEM classrooms can be, and asks if that’s pushing students away from STEM. The article, however, talks to everyone involved in stem education and careers. It includes examples of people who share the excitement of what they do through simple explanations of their study and/or jobs.

We have a communication problem in STEM education

Bringing the liberal arts to engineering education

The Chronicle of Higher Education 27 April, 2015

Solving the complex problems of our time requires a multidisciplinary approach. The authors of this article say that integrating the liberal arts in engineering education positions future engineers to be successful at anticipating, defining and solving these problems. They include examples of US engineering programmes which include liberal arts courses with an engineering perspective.

 

Bringing the liberal arts to engineering education

How to attract female engineers

New York Times, 27 April 2015

The key to increasing the number of female engineers may be simple:  reframing the goals of engineering research and curricula to be more relevant to societal needs. The author says this solution is an obvious one, and gives examples of engineering programmes which focus on the humanitarian aspects of engineering and have high numbers of women enrolling in their courses.

How to attract female engineers

Why we need learning engineers

The Chronicle of Higher Education 20 April, 2015

Where are our talented, creative, user-centric ‘learning engineers’ – people who understand the research about learning, test it, and apply it to help more students learn more effectively?  According to this article, we are missing a job category. If so, is there scope in New Zealand to recognise learning engineers who can apply existing science and generate data to help more students and professors succeed?

Why we need learning engineers

Many factors contribute to low share of women in engineering and computing

The Chronicle of Higher Education 26 March, 2015

Gender bias, workplace exclusion and a lack of support structures are some of the factors contributing to the lack of women working in engineering and computing, according to a new report from the American Association of University Women. While these findings reflect what we’ve read before, they make interesting reading and include recommendations for change.

Many factors contribute to low share of women in engineering and computing

What degree should you study to become a billionaire?

The Telegraph 25 March, 2015

More than a fifth of the world’s wealthiest people studied engineering at university – almost twice as many billionaires’ degrees as the next field. Information about the financial rewards might be the hook that gets some students considering a career in engineering.

What degree should you study to become a billionaire?

Why Barbie is holding your girl back

Radio New Zealand National 24 March, 2015

Alice Brooks was given a saw instead of a Barbie doll and went on from building toys to an engineering degree. With fellow student Bettina Chen she set up Roominate which makes toys targeted at pre-teen girls, allowing them to design, build and wire their own dolls houses. If these types of initiative are the right approach to encouraging young girls into engineering activities, how can we complement them? 

Why Barbie is holding your girl back

UK Engineering – a success story that needs sustaining

Royal Academy of Engineering 2 March, 2015

This report assesses the economic returns of engineering research and postgraduate training and highlights the contribution of engineering to the nation’s economy and the everyday lives of citizens.

 

UK Engineering – a success story that needs sustaining

We won't get more engineering students by lowering tuition fees

The Guardian, 23 February, 2015

The UK’s need for more engineers won’t be fixed by lowering student fees, taking the cap off student numbers or promoting engineering through schools outreach. Instead, according to this article, engineering needs a makeover to reveal its excitement and true value to society. 

How much do these comments reflect the situation in New Zealand (where enrolments in technology and engineering have been gradually rising)?

We won't get more engineering students by lowering tuition fees

The unexpected reason some in higher ed fear free community colleges

The Hechinger Report, 20 February 2015

Moves in the USA to offer free community college education are causing concern to universities, which already find competition for students an issue and that low numbers transfer  from a two-year to four-year degree.

This article highlights why we need pathways as part of the engineering offer. Although the US education system is much more extensive, what can we learn from their experiences?

The unexpected reason some in higher ed fear free community colleges

Eight ways to encourage more students to study engineering

The Guardian 20 January, 2015

The Guardian’s Higher Education Network discusses the lack of engineering graduates in the UK and how this might be remedied. 
This article is perhaps stating the more obvious, rather than the novel, but it is a stark reminder how much can be done to improve the number of engineering graduates and how hard it has been to actually implement these changes.

Eight ways to encourage more students to study engineering

Women overcoming hurdles in science

The Wireless (audio) 6 January, 2015

A conversation with New Zealand women who have excelled in STEM areas, and the barriers they faced in getting there. While the problem of women in STEM areas (or the lack thereof) is not a new issue, it is interesting that the situation is so slow to change.
Are we listening to women (those in STEM and those who are not) enough, and how seriously are we letting what women say influence our strategies to help them into STEM areas?

Women overcoming hurdles in science

What we know about transfer

Community College Research Center, January 2015

Although this report is not specifically about engineering, it considers the rates at which students transfer from two-year to four-year institutions, their outcomes, credit loss and the benefits of transferrals.

Are there any lessons we can learn about pathways or transfers in regard to engineering qualifications in New Zealand?

What we know about transfer

Embrace engineering's creative side to fix skills crisis

BBC News 21 November, 2014

A report on Sir John O’Reilly’s call for the engineering profession to embrace the arts (and fine art especially), as given in a lecture to the Royal Institution in London. Is Sir John right to suggest that the neglect of fine arts and humanities in engineering education is not only hindering the quality of our engineers but actually turning off potential engineering students who would otherwise find engineering attractive?

Embrace engineering's creative side to fix skills crisis

Top universities forced to introduce remedial maths classes

The Telegraph 24 July, 2012

A surprisingly low number of UK Biology, Economics, Chemistry and Engineering undergraduates did A-level maths, and many of those who actually did have poor mathematical ability. 
Is there a similar situation in New Zealand, or is mathematics (especially NCEA Level 3 calculus and statistics) more popular and better taught here?

Top universities forced to introduce remedial maths classes

Sorting out engineering

Scribd, by Kel Fidler, 21 May 2014

Professor Kel Fidler’s report covers: the need to encourage more school students to consider engineering; the cultural shift needed to overcome the prejudice against new universities (polytechnics); and overcoming media ignorance which often informs public perceptions.

Sorting out engineering

Tomorrow's Engineers Week

Tomorrow’s Engineers is an organisation that promotes engineering as a career choice, primarily to young British students. Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2014 was an event targeted towards changing the perception of engineering among 11 to 14 year-olds, through  in-school presentations and workshops, work experience days with engineers and a heap of other activities. 
How successful are awareness weeks in promoting engineering careers to the next generation? And if they are, how could we look to implement them in New Zealand?

Tomorrow's Engineers Week

Georgia Tech Women in Engineering programme

Georgia Institute of Technology website 2015

The Georgia Tech Women in Engineering programme aims to recruit top female students into engineering and ensure their retention in the courses. 
This is a great-looking programme and a clever response to the worry that the very ‘male’ environments of engineering schools are turning off women: instead of changing all engineering schools to become more female-friendly, set-up ad hoc female-focused engineering programmes. But is this response the right one?

Georgia Tech Women in Engineering programme

Education to employment: Getting Europe’s youth into work

The McKinsey Centre for Government, January 2014

This report is a follow up to the McKinsey Centre for Government’s report Education to employment: Designing a system that works (2013). Youth unemployment across the European Union remains unacceptably high, to the detriment of current and future generations. Addressing it requires understanding its causes and then relentlessly pursuing solutions.  

Education to employment: Getting Europe’s youth into work

Education to employment: Designing a system that works

The McKinsey Centre for Government, January 2013

The McKinsey Centre for Government’s report Education to employment: Designing a system that works (2013) was a key influence on the Engineering e2e’s programme design. It considered the high levels of youth unemployment and shortage of people with critical job skills, and concluded that the current education-to-employment system fails for most employers and young people.

Education to employment: Designing a system that works