WEPAN's Strategic Direction presented by Diane Matt, WEPAN Executive Director
The Network of Leaders Building Inclusive Cultures in Engineering
WEPAN is the leading champion in North America for leveraging research and best practices to propel the inclusion of women in the field of engineering. WEPAN’s network connects over 1000 advocates who actively pursue strategies and implement solutions to increase participation, retention and success of women and other under-represented groups in engineering from college to executive leadership.
Demand for Innovation Drives WEPAN
WEPAN is driven by the conviction that engineering must fully embrace diversity and inclusion to meet the demands of today’s innovation and performance-driven business culture. Creating academic and workplace cultures for students, employees, and faculty that promote inclusion and diversity in engineering higher education is critical. Everyone can contribute to building cultures that value diversity by working together with WEPAN’s committed network of well-informed leaders and advocates.
The value of diversity in engineering teaching, research, innovation and the workplace is clear:
“People from different backgrounds have varying ways of looking at problems, what I call ‘tools.’ The sum of these tools is far more powerful in organizations with diversity than in ones where everyone has gone to the same schools, been trained in the same mold and thinks in almost identical ways.”
“Progress depends as much on our collective differences as it does on our individual IQ scores.”
― Scott E. Page,The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies
Let's Jump Start this System
Women are underrepresented in engineering. Although women make up 57% of engineering ready high school graduates in the U.S.1 and fields such as biological and agricultural sciences, social sciences and psychology graduate equal number of women and men2, the percentage of engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded to women in 2013 was 19.1%. The percentage has remained at or below 20% for more than 10 years. Women made up 14.5% of the engineering faculty in 2013, representing steady, but slow growth over the last decade.
Everyone can take immediate action to build inclusion and encourage the full participation of diverse communities of women and their male counterparts in engineering. Even small changes make a difference.
The WEPAN Network
WEPAN is fueled by a network of leaders, advocates and supporters from nearly 200 universities, colleges, community colleges, government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. Over 900 individuals make up the WEPAN network – they know that working together results in more impactful and systemic change than isolated efforts.
WEPAN’s network enables its partners to:
Build and share knowledge of current best practices for attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining women faculty, students and professional engineers
Consider effective ways to address bias in policies and practices that otherwise thwart efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of women
Explore practical ways that all members of an organization can value and support difference and inclusion
Participate in professional development opportunities through webinars, special projects and an annual conference to enhance understanding of how to address and overcome the challenges in increasing diversity in engineering
Access current research about women in STEM fields through the Women in STEM Knowledge Center
Network and collaborate with leading scholars in the global diversity community
Demonstrate their support and advocacy of inclusive engineering education
Institutions, organizations and individuals engage with WEPAN in several ways:
The Academic Leaders Consortium includes deans and leadership from institutions across North America who are committed to creating engineering academic environments that will propel diversity across students and faculty
WEPAN’s Research into Practice Community utilizes the research-based practices and strategies of WEPAN in order to grow engineering diversity and inclusion and affect change at their institution or organization. The community includes women in engineering/diversity program directors, practitioners, scholars and educators advancing research and utilizing best practices in engineering diversity and gender studies.
WEPAN's Industry Network brings together corporate leaders who understand the value gender diversity brings to engineering business innovation, performance and success and provide support and insight to the WEPAN community
WEPAN’s Board of Directors are academic and industry leaders who provide strategic direction for WEPAN and its key initiatives
How WEPAN Improves the Engineering Pathway
WEPAN mobilizes research in gender, diversity and inclusion to expand recruitment and success of women in engineering. WEPAN promotes gender inclusion in the engineering higher education-to-workplace system through practical, targeted initiatives like these to accomplish sustainable, systems-level improvement:
Faculty professional development initiatives such as TECAID (Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion and Diversity), EIT (Engineering Inclusive Teaching), and ENGAGE Engineering – all National Science Foundation funded projects – are examples of WEPAN partnering with academic leaders to create systemic changes in educational methods and climates so that more students are engaged, motivated and retained in engineering
The Women in STEM Knowledge Center, a globally-accessible, curated collection of over 2,000 research and practice-based resources about women in STEM provides scholars and practitioners with the information and strategies they need to attract, recruit, develop and retain women in engineering
WEPAN conducted the 1st national climate study among 20,000 male and female engineering students - Climate studies are now a standard tool for used by engineering colleges across the nation
Responding to the urgent need for expertise in creating programs to increase the number of women studying engineering, WEPAN launched the first wave of 85 women in engineering programs and initiatives that are now part of the educational infrastructure in more than 140 colleges across North America
For over 25+ years, WEPAN’s flagship conference, the Change Leader Forum has engaged more than 4,000 change leaders in launching and mobilizing gender inclusion and diversity through sharing research, best practices and advocacy and providing a network of peers and exemplars
1 Commission for Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST)
2 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center http://nscresearchcenter.org/snapshotreport-degreeattainment15/
3 American Society for Engineering Education http://www.asee.org/papers-and-publications/publications/11-47.pdf