Paper by Lois Trautvetter Receives Engineering Education Award

Paper by Lois Trautvetter Receives Engineering Education Award

Lois Trautvetter
Assistant professor Lois Trautvetter, director of the Higher Education Administration and Policy program, won an award for a paper she presented at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference in Vancouver. 

She is first author on the paper that won the 2011 Denice D. Denton Best Paper Award for the Women Engineering Division. The paper is entitled “Programs and Practices Making a Difference: A Cross-Case Analysis Identifying Programs and Factors that Influence Recruitment and Retention of Women Engineering Students.” The other authors of the paper are Rose M. Marra of University of Missouri - Columbia, Lisa R. Lattuca of Pennsylvania State University, Katie L. Piacentini of University of Missouri - Columbia and David B. Knight of Pennsylvania State University. Trautvetter presented two papers and participated in a panel discussion at the June conference.

The award-winning paper reports the research findings of Trautvetter and her colleagues related to recruitment of female engineering students since women constituted only 19 percent of engineering students in 2007, despite nearly 20 years of recruitment and retention efforts. The researchers’ cross-case analysis of six engineering schools, which was based on rich qualitative data from interviews as well as observations and documents, identified trends and unique practices used to address the recruitment and retention of women engineering students.

The paper focuses specifically on how these institutions implement K-12 outreach, admissions, summer/bridge, and first and second-year support programs. The study finds three themes that support recruitment of female students: 1) historical commitment, institutional type and geographical location; 2) flexible and strategic admissions policies and “high touch” efforts; and 3) outreach programs for K-12. The researchers also highlight five themes that lead to female students’ retaining an engineering degree: 1) campus climate, 2) support services during early undergraduate years, 3) strong ties to faculty and student interaction in and out of the classroom, 4) high support for student organizations and activities, and 5) learning and living communities.

The entire paper may be downloaded from the ASEE conference web site at

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/12/11