Engineering at Nebraska, Spring 2008
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Generating more women in engineering at UNL

Let's talk about women in engineering.

Dean David H. AllenI'm sure most of you have already heard from sources such as Thomas Friedman's book, The World Is Flat, that the United States faces a grand challenge within technical disciplines in the century to come.

These issues are particularly important to the state of Nebraska as well. We in higher education are focused on our responsibility to meet the needs of the state in the technical disciplines, particularly with respect to producing new intellectual property for the state.

What we know is this:

The state of Nebraska lags behind the national average in production of engineering degrees by about 13 percent. The low enrollment of women in the College of Engineering, which is a trend across the nation, significantly adds to this challenge.

Now that you know that we recognize this challenge, you may say, "Great-it will get solved." But as we all know, recognizing the problem is only 10 percent of addressing the challenge. Here's what we're doing to solve the other 90 percent of the matter:

  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has recently obtained two new, large NSF educational grants focused on attracting female students and faculty, as well as people of color.

  • Furthermore, we are providing broad educational opportunities that are of particular interest to female students, such as minors in international and biomedical engineering.

  • We are also focused on extracurricular activities for women, such as the Society of Women Engineers.

It would be presumptive to assume that these efforts will completely solve the problem. But we can make you this promise: we will continue our efforts to enhance opportunities for women in engineering, in order to meet the needs of Nebraska and our nation.

-David H. Allen