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30 for 30 Profile: The OSU College of Engineering Women in Engineering Program

January 25, 2022

The Ohio State University College of Engineering Diversity, Outreach & Inclusion Women in Engineering (WiE) program is a comprehensive, multi-faceted program that assists the College with the recruitment, retention, motivation, and graduation of all women engineering students.

Lisa Barclay is an Assistant Dean and Chief Diversity Officer for the College of Engineering. Before taking on the new role in June 2021, Barclay served in several positions, including Upward Bound program counselor, engineering recruitment director, and senior director for Diversity, Outreach and Inclusion over her 20-year career at Ohio State. Under her leadership, Ohio State engineering recruitment doubled the number of new first-year student (NFYS) applications, with a more than 25 percent increase in underrepresented minorities and women between 2006 – 2012 and more recently. In 2021, NFYS female enrollment increased and underrepresented minority NFYS hit a new high.

The College is a Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN) 30 for 30 Institutional Champion, and Barclay feels this membership has brought value to the College in different ways. On the one hand, being a WEPAN member allows participants to become a community member to exchange ideas and practices with colleagues across the country, increasing the success of underrepresented groups and women in engineering. On the other, it acts as a strategic partnership in providing innovative strategies for institutional transformation and advancing inclusive excellence efforts when looking at faculty recruitment and retention. “WEPAN is a leader in promoting inclusive conversations that bring together industry partners, administrators, practitioners and researchers,” says Barclay.

Over the last decade, the College has seen an increase in the number of women undergraduates, women faculty at all levels and women in positions of senior leadership, which has had an important impact on efforts in the College and across the university. 

Barclay has seen the WIE evolve during her time at Ohio State, with more inclusive and intentional programming as the most significant change during the last decade. “We’ve made more of a concerted effort to acknowledge the intersection of identities,” says Barclay.

“By leveraging efforts from women-focused programs and minority-focused programs, we become more powerful and robust in what we can offer our students.” 

Barclay is most proud of one of the programs the College’s second-year bridge program, which allows students to have a summer research experience coupled with the opportunity to take an engineering course that counts towards their engineering degree. Barclay wanted to make sure programming was developed that focused on the retention of current students. “When we get students, we want to keep them here and help them to graduate from here. Students are better ambassadors for our programs and for engineering when they’re thriving.”

Barclay believes WIEP programs benefit not only women but also all students on campus. “When we talk about supporting and empowering students, incorporating inclusive teaching practices and a more diverse faculty and student body that makes the engineering program better for every student,” she says.

 

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