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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Ruth Miller
212-579-7596
info@eifgrants.org
June 20, 2001

Engineering Information Foundation Revises Guidelines for Program on Women in Engineering

In the past twenty years there have been major changes in girls' science, math, engineering and technology (SMET) achievement and course taking. There are now minimal differences in girls and boys "average" science and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. Girls are now taking the upper level math and science courses needed to enter engineering in about the same numbers as boys, with over 40% of high school physics and calculus students being girls. Yet, while the ability is there, as is the basic academic background needed to continue on in engineering, for a number of individual and societal reasons, young women are not continuing on in engineering. Indeed, among students taking the SAT, over three-quarters of those wanting to major in engineering and computer science are boys and the percent of women majoring in engineering hovers around 20%. There is an existing knowledge base that can and should be used to address this issue, however much is left to be learned. Typically because of a lack of resources, little research/evaluation has been done to determine the long-term effects of different strategies on women students' entrance to engineering. While work needs to be done to help more young women to become interested in engineering as a career, work also needs to be done to keep young women in engineering through college and beyond.

It is in this context that the Foundation is interested in funding programs in the following areas:
  1. Programs to Encourage Middle School Girls in Engineering conducted by engineering educators and others that encourage them to prepare for and undertake careers in engineering. The Foundation is particularly interested in innovative programs, which, if they are found to be effective, will be continued within the applying institution(s). These programs supported by the Foundation are expected to test their effectiveness, to examine program impact on participant educational and careers plans and on their SMET participation and achievement. Grants may be made for up to three years and are expected to range between $15,000 and $35,000 per year.
  2. Research and Evaluation Projects targeting middle school aged girls that use existing and/or new data to conduct longitudinal studies that identify and validate barriers to young women entering engineering and test the longer-term effectiveness of different strategies to overcome these barriers. It is expected that projects will use both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and control/comparisons groups. Grants may be made for up to three years and are expected to range between $75,000 and $100,000 per year.
  3. Research and Evaluation Projects focusing on testing strategies as well as Programs designed to improve the retention rate of undergraduate women in engineering. These may cover such diverse areas as classroom, climate, learning behaviors, classroom pedagogies and academic and social support programs. It is expected that the research projects will use both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and control/comparisons groups, and the programs will examine their impact on SMET achievement. Grants may be made for up to three years and are expected to range between $75,000 and $100,000 per year for research projects, $15,000 and $35,000 for programs.
Special Proposal Review Criteria

Proposals should include how the program would contribute to the knowledge base of what works and what doesn't in increasing the numbers of women in engineering.

The full proposal shall be no more than 15 pages in length and should include the following components:
  • A one page abstract.
  • An overview of the problem (please note the statement of the problem should go beyond a listing of the numbers and percentages of women in engineering and engineering prerequisites to address that which is behind those numbers).
  • A summary of related work in the field, including similar programs that have been implemented and any impact that has been made.
  • A listing of program goals and objectives.
  • A statement of work tasks to be accomplished, including a timeline and a management plan.
  • A listing of staff qualifications.
  • Information about the organization, its directors and evidence of tax status.
  • A budget.
Proposals for Direct Participant Programs should also include:
  • An evaluation plan that makes explicit how the impact of the project on participants will be tested.
  • A plan for continuing the program after the funding period.
Proposals for Research and Evaluation Projects should also include:
  • A research plan including a description of the research design and data analysis.
  • A plan for disseminating the results.
The proposals will be judged on the following criteria:
  • The overall quality of the proposed project, including its chances to be successfully implemented.
  • The potential of the proposed project to contribute to what is known about bringing more women into engineering.
  • The potential of the proposed project to be continued past the funding period (for Direct Participant Programs).
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