Paths to the Deanship in American Academic Engineering: A Snapshot of Who, Where and How & Implications for African-American Women
Among the traditional professions – engineering, clergy, law, architecture, and medicine – engineering is the one being drawn from for university presidents and provosts. This suggests career paths might be forming, albeit, not necessarily within universities but among them as engineering professors are recruited by and relocate to another institution.
In this report, I describe the findings of an analysis of information about current deans and interim/acting deans of engineering, including how they arrive at deanship as indicated by the universities from which they earn their doctorates, the administrative positions held prior to the deanship, whether they assume the deanship while remaining with their previous institution or by relocating to another or from outside academia.
In addition, who these current deans are is considered in terms of their gender and race/ethnicity as well as whether they have been employed outside higher education. This last factor is somewhat problematic since engineering entails frequent and in-depth engagement with sectors beyond the campus. For this analysis, work outside of academia was defined as full-time employment by entities other than colleges, universities, engineering associations and professional societies. Appointment to one of the rotating assignments of the National Science Foundation is considered outside employment.
The deans of engineering included in this analysis were drawn from 200-plus who were signatories to the diversity pledge of the American Society of Engineering Education as of November, 2017. Deans of schools or colleges that house engineering and other disciplines and who are themselves not engineers were not included in this analysis. As a result, the total sample size is 186.
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