Harris Search Associates to Host Special "Think Tank" on Advancing Women of Color in Academic Engineering

In association with Professor Pamela McCauley of the University of Central Florida, Harris Search Associates is sponsoring a “Think Tank” to celebrate but also advance the status of women of color in academic engineering. The event is being held during the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, June 26, 2017 and has enjoyed assistance from ASEE leadership and staff.

Dr. BevLee Watford, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Virginia Tech, will assume the position of President of ASEE at the conference.  Dr. Watford will be the first woman of color to hold the position. She will be honored during the event and kick off a facilitated discussion among more than 30 other women of color who have earned tenure and promotion to Full Professor in engineering.  

In addition, invitations to participate in and benefit from the Think Tank are being sent to full professors of engineering – likely chairs of search committees charged with seeking leadership,  members of ASEE’s Diversity Committee, and members of two diversity-focused divisions (Women in Engineering and Minorities in Engineering) will receive individual invitations to the Think Tank and benefit from the discussion that takes place therein.

The Think Tank will prompt and capture the insights of these women of achievement with respect to what and who enabled them to progress within the profession and, from that, determine whether “lessons learned” can be developed for use by search committees and search firms seeking department chairs and deanships in academic engineering. In this way, women and women of color in greater numbers can be recruited and retained as leadership for the field. In this way, the pursuit of more diverse pools of candidates can become less a matter of formal compliance and more a process for enriching departments and colleges/schools of engineering.

Harris Search Associates has long sought to advance diversity as a means for strengthening academia as evident from having placed women and persons of color in more than a third of nearly 900 searches carried out over the firm’s 20 years. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Think Tank, please contact Dr. Pamela McCauley at Pamela.McCauley@ucf.edu or Dr. Richard Skinner at rick@harrisandassociates.com.

Please note a proposal submitted by the University of Central Florida is under consideration by the National Science Foundation(NSF)’s ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers to provide travel support to those among the 30 women of color who might not otherwise be able to take part.


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