University of Illinois Increases Women Faculty in Engineering by One Third

The University of Illinois reports that since last December, 23 women have joined the faculty or accepted offers to join the faculty in its College of Engineering. This increases the number of women faculty in engineering by one third. Every department in the College of Engineering has new women faculty members.

The increase in the number of women faculty appears to have impacted the enrollment of women in engineering programs at the university. The enrollment of women in undergraduate engineering programs is up 27 percent over the past two years.

larsonSusanSusan Larson, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and assistant dean at the College of Engineering, told the student newspaper that “seeing someone who ‘looks like you’ doing a job can have a tremendous influence on someone. All of a sudden, that job seems more accessible to you and can inspire you to that career path. Increasing the numbers of women faculty gives this very positive message to our women students. The University is placing a high value on recruiting more women students and faculty to engineering because of the recognition that there is talent in this population that should not be overlooked.”

Dr. Larson is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she doubled majored in physics and German language and literatures. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering science from the California Institute of Technology. She has been on the faculty at the University of Illinois since 1988.

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