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ERIC Number: EJ944815
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-1946-6226
The Role of Majority Groups in Diversity Programs
Rheingans, Penny; Brodsky, Anne; Scheibler, Jill; Spence, Anne
ACM Transactions on Computing Education, v11 n2 Article 11 Jul 2011
The underrepresentation of women in technical fields is a widely acknowledged national problem, limiting both the raw size of the talent pool and the diversity of experiences and perspectives of those who will design solutions to key problems facing society. Empowering women to succeed in these fields is clearly one important component of any solution. Because the population in those fields will likely continue to be overwhelmingly male for some time to come, men must also be a key component of the solution. Specifically, since the attitudes of the majority group are a strong determinant of climate, it is almost equally important to foster a population of men supportive of increasing the representation of women. As at most universities and technical companies, women are a minority in all majors in the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT). In most majors, they are a small minority. The UMBC Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) is dedicated to increasing the representation of women in engineering and information technology fields. At the heart of these efforts is the CWIT Scholar Program, a selective merit scholarship program for undergraduates majoring in engineering and IT who are committed to increasing the representation of women in those fields. In addition to financial support, the CWIT Scholar Program provides a supportive community, academic and professional development programming, networking opportunities, and a residential Living Learning Community. Almost from the beginning, some CWIT scholars have been men. 28 percent of current CWIT scholars are men. Perhaps not surprisingly, female CWIT scholars have dramatically higher retention and completion rates than other women majoring in these fields. In this article, we look at a second effect of the CWIT Scholar Program, that of changing awareness and attitudes of the men who participate. We discuss programs and present results of a survey of attitudes regarding technical, academic, and gender issues in engineering and IT education. We disaggregate survey participants to show differences between the attitudes of women, scholar men, and men not participating in a diversity program.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland