School of Engineering Among Tops for Female Grads, Professors

The Mercer School of Engineering recently received national attention in two publications for its female-friendly atmosphere. The School is third in the nation for percentage of female students earning bachelor of science degrees in PRISM, the American Society for Engineering Education’s magazine. The School also ranked No. 18 in the country among engineering schools for percentage of women faculty tenured or on tenure-track by Connections, an ASSE electronic newsletter.

PRISM ranked schools based on the number of women who graduated with an engineering degree during the 2005-2006 academic year. Of that class year, 36.6 percent of the Mercer’s graduates were women. The data was compiled by the American Society for Engineering Education from a pool of 261 schools that awarded 50 or more bachelor of science degrees.

“The School of Engineering is proud of its outstanding record of enrolling and graduating women engineers and of hiring and retaining female faculty members,” said Dean M. Dayne Aldridge. “Our commitment to all students, whether they be male or female, attracts top quality students and faculty and we look forward to continuing this distinctive that has been part of our history.”

Alumnae, students and faculty say the School offers a supportive atmosphere for all engineering students regardless of gender and is an attractive learning and working environment to women for a variety of reasons.

“Mercer University School of Engineering provides an excellent education for all of its students,” said Jackie Smith Baxley, a 1998 Mercer environmental engineering graduate and president of the Engineering Alumni Board. “I think that women, in particular, are attracted to its program because Mercer can offer what larger engineering schools lack: a closer setting that fosters a deeper connection to faculty and staff.  Essentially, at Mercer, you are a person, not just a number.”

The size of the engineering school is attractive to all students, and in particular women, but the commitment to students fostered at Mercer is important to all students, notes Dr. Laura Moody, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

“The truth is that the characteristics of the School attract women and help them to succeed. Small, interactive classes and a focus on engaging students at all levels in the engineering design process, to name just two, are characteristics that attract and promote the success of all of our engineering students,” Moody said. “We are fortunate that Mercer’s culture of commitment to undergraduate education allows us to provide a high-quality engineering program that has at its core a commitment to student engagement and student success.”

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