While many previously male-dominated collegiate programs have experienced demographic shifts over the past half century to become gender-balanced, engineering has persisted as a male-dominated discipline. Trends between national gender proportions of faculty and degree recipients in engineering over a span of fifty years and their implications on same-gender mentoring relationship for female engineering students are discussed. This paper analyzes the responses of students of all genders from sixteen departments housed in four separate colleges across California State University, Fresno to investigate the relationship between faculty gender and success indicators of female engineering students. The responses of female students in the Lyles College of Engineering are compared with the responses of male and non-binary engineering students as well as gendered groups from gender-balanced and female-dominated departments in the university. While faculty gender was not correlated with academic performance of students in the LCOE, 52% and 56% of female engineering students surveyed agreed that it is important to have professors and mentors, respectively, of their same gender. This was significantly higher than all male student groups surveyed, including those from the LCOE and female-dominated departments, and female students from non-STEM gender balanced and female-dominated departments. Of female engineering students who indicated same gender faculty or mentors in their discipline were important, over 97% indicated having these individuals made them believe they could achieve more in their profession. Agreement with this statement was significantly lower among male engineering students. The survey indicated that in engineering and gender-balanced fields, academically qualified students of all genders were disproportionately more likely to be encouraged to pursue graduate studies by female faculty than by male faculty. The data presented in this paper underscores the importance of women faculty and mentors for the success of female engineering students.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.