The School of Industrial Engineering (IE) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) has an unusual trend of gender parity at the undergraduate level. To investigate local factors contributing to the success of IE at OU, we interviewed 41 IE majors (23 female) about their background, choices, experiences, and goals, with a semi-structured protocol. Using established qualitative research methods, we examined interview transcript excerpts related to relevant categories. Participants described the cohesive community among the undergraduate majors. As a social networks model would predict, the student-student connections (horizontal ties) provide emotional support, in particularly strong ways. What is most unusual, however, are the vertical ties. Faculty in IE at OU are especially proactive and diligent about offering resources to students as well as providing an additional layer of emotional support. Three faculty, in particular, seem to have acquired critical roles in the students’ support structure.
Available from: FIE Archive
Rhoads, T. R., T. J. Murphy and D. A. Trytten (2005). A Study of Gender Parity: Department Culture from the Students’ Perspective. Proceedings of 34th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Indianapolis, IN.