Meet the Purdue Team

Joyce Main

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education

She holds a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Li Tan

Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the School of Engineering Education

He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Columbia - Missouri. His completed works include research on education personnel professional development and job satisfaction, and accounting for student disadvantage in value-added models.


Phase 1

Data Collection, Curation, and Analyses 

Although the lack of women of color (WoC) in higher education has been noted in the literature for decades, the academy, and particularly engineering fields, still struggle with issues of underrepresentation among as its faculty.  This Phase One study focuses on identifying the patterns of the prevalence of WoC in the engineering professoriate across U.S. academic institutions over time.  Using data from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), a professional society for engineers, and data from the National Science Foundation, Phase One addresses the following research questions:


  1. What are the trends in the prevalence of WoC faculty in engineering over time (2005-2016)?
  2. Which types of academic institutions employ the greatest proportions of WoC engineering faculty?
  3. How do trends in the number of WoC faculty relate to the number of WoC undergraduate and graduate students completing degrees in engineering?


Research findings will contribute to filling an important gap in documenting and preserving the historical changes of the composition of engineering faculty and how institutional factors are associated with these changes.  This foundational knowledge will be useful to academic administrators and stakeholders in tracking progress, as well as in helping develop strategies and programs to increase the participation and retention of WoC in the engineering professoriate.  Findings from Phase One will also be complemented by the other phases of the larger research study, which includes a survey of engineering faculty across the United States and in-depth individual interviews with women faculty in engineering.