U of T engineering dept enrolls record number of female students

First-year engineering enrolment surpasses 30 percent for the first time in programs' history.

0 February 4, 2015
by Design Engineering staff

From left: Julia Filiplic, Christine Bui and Molly Gorman are among the 30.6 per cent of first-year engineering students at U of T who are female — the highest percentage in Ontario (Photo: Roberta Baker).

From left: Julia Filiplic, Christine Bui and Molly Gorman are among the 30.6 per cent of first-year engineering students at U of T who are female — the highest percentage in Ontario (Photo: Roberta Baker).

The University of Toronto announced that percentage of first-year students in it’s engineering programs has surpassed 30 per cent this year, a record for the university and a higher number than all other Ontario universities. National figures are expected later this year from Engineers Canada.

As of 2013, women accounted for just 11.7 per cent of all professional engineers in Canada. Growing numbers of female engineering students signal a promising future for gender balance in the profession, says Cristina Amon, Dean of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

“U of T Engineering is a rich environment for talented, bright women to become engineering leaders,” she said. “Diverse perspectives are the foundation of our culture of excellence in research, education, service and innovation. This achievement is encouraging as we continue our proactive efforts to foster diversity within the faculty, among universities and across the engineering profession.”

The university says the increase is due to its targeted recruitment efforts; female undergraduate enrollment is up from 21.3 per cent six years ago, the university says, alongside rising entrance grade averages for first-year students that reached a record 92.4 per cent this year.

The first year gender make-up reflects similar trends for UofT’s engineering program on the whole and campus-wide faculty. Currently, the university says 25.8 per cent of U of T Engineering’s undergraduate population is female, compared to a province-wide average of 19.7 per cent. Across Canada and the United States last year, those averages were 18.9 per cent and 19.9 per cent respectively.

Similarly, the number of female UofT faculty members has more than doubled in the past eight years, from 21 in 2006 to 44 in 2014. Seventeen per cent of faculty members are women, which is three points higher than the Ontario average (14 per cent) and four points higher than the Canadian average (13 per cent).

In the 2014–15 academic year, women accounted for three of the four new faculty members hired at U of T Engineering. In addition, all three of the Faculty’s 2014 Canada Research Chairs are women.

“Engineering has changed significantly from when I began at U of T several decades ago,” said Professor Susan McCahan (MIE), U of T’s new vice-provost, innovations in undergraduate education, who was the University’s first female faculty member in mechanical engineering. “It is increasingly recognized as a vibrant and innovative profession: One that encourages broad perspectives and collaboration to drive positive changes that improve our world.”
www.engineering.utoronto.ca


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