Some engineering schools exude a culture of masculinity and hierarchy in their mission statements, an article in the inaugural issue of Journal of Diversity in Higher Education concludes.
Sisters and co-authors Emmeline de Pillis, a University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo professor of management, and Lisette de Pillis from Harvey Mudd College asked business students to describe successful students based on mission statements from 20 engineering and liberal arts schools.
The hypothetical engineering students were assumed to be more forceful and less likeable than liberal arts students.
By and large, participants’ personality traits and academic performance weren’t a factor in their perceptions. However, the more authoritarian that male participants were, the more likely they were to identify a successful engineering student as someone like themselves.
The strong association highlights the dual challenge of changing engineering school culture and recruiting a more diverse student body, the report concludes.
Read the abstract.