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Institutional Champion

WEPAN Institutional Champion - University of Dayton

University of Dayton Makes Programmatic and Systemic Changes to Advance Women in Engineering

The University of Dayton School of Engineering’s commitment to female engineers extends from first-year living/learning co-horts to senior female faculty advancing their academic careers through promotion and tenure. 

The School’s Diversity in Engineering Center, under the direction of Executive Director and WEPAN board member Laura Bistrek and Dean Eddy Rojas, WEPAN’s 2019 Advocates and Allies Award winner, plays a critical role in the School’s success.

Their efforts over the past five years led to the School receiving ASEE’s highest award—bronze with exemplar status—during its inaugural Diversity Recognition Program. Bistrek and Rojas firmly believe that active engagement with WEPAN is critical to informing the School of Engineering’s work and have held the Institutional Champion level membership for several years.


Living and Learning Community

Most recently, Women Engineering Program Director Beth Hart has expanded the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) living/learning community to offer residential options and/or programming all four years.  As a highly residential campus, UD students often live in University housing for their entire academic career, first in traditional residence halls, then apartment suites and finally in the student neighborhood of houses adjacent to campus.

First year WISE students live together; co-hort their chemistry, chemistry laboratory and engineering innovation courses; and participate in community building, service and social events. As sophomores, participating women help plan programming for—and mentor—first-year students. Sophomore students are targeted to have co-horted apartment university housing in fall 2020.

Juniors and seniors can live in the WISE house in the student neighborhood, in a special interest house. WISE house residents serve as mentors and tutors to underclassmen while helping to plan events both within the house and for the WISE community.

“One of the many benefits of WISE is that they are living with women who have similar majors in close proximity to one another,” Hart said.  “Academic help is not far away and participants are able to foster a strong bond and sense of community that stays with them throughout their academic careers and beyond.”

Addressing Promotion and Tenure
Kenya Crosson, associate professor for civil and environmental engineering; Beth Hart; and Margie Pinnell, associate dean of faculty and staff development, have been leading an effort to revise the School’s Promotion & Tenure document.  The initiative, which began in 2017, has been a lengthy process of researching best practices, gaining consensus, and navigating the process of change.  

The centerpiece of the new process is a Career Planning Tool that can be used throughout the faculty member’s career, from hiring through post tenure review.  The tool allows candidates to create a personal strategic plan with core and elective elements that are agreed upon with the department chair so that everyone is clear on how performance will be measured.

Scholarship, teaching and service are still at the heart of the document, but faculty can choose to be evaluated under different models and get “credit” for an expanded array of contributions. The document is formative as well as evaluative, applies to tenure-track and non-tenured faculty, and is applicable at all career stages.

A final document will be presented for faculty and University approval in the first half of 2020. 


University of Dayton Fast Facts

Location: Dayton, OH
Public/Private:  Private - a Catholic, Marianist University
Total # Students: 8,480 undergraduate, 3,000 graduate and law students
Total # Engineering Students: 2,070 undergraduate, 615 graduate
Fun Fact:  No. 1 Catholic university for engineering R&D


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1/24/2021 » 1/27/2021
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