Although women receive just over 21.5 percent of engineering doctoral degrees awarded in the U.S., they account for only 5 percent of full professor positions. And of this small percentage, only 11 percent become heads of engineering departments at universities, according to data from the National Science Foundation and the American Society of Engineering Education.
Margaret Bailey, professor in mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, is in the inaugural class of ELATE—the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering fellowship program, established to support female faculty in engineering, computer science and related fields who aspire to leadership positions within higher education.
Bailey, who teaches in the mechanical engineering program in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, will be among 12 female professors from U.S. universities who will participate in the yearlong, part-time fellowship based at Drexel University. The online and onsite program is designed to increase personal and professional leadership effectiveness and develop knowledge of organizational dynamics, finance and strategic management of participants’ colleges and universities.
“As RIT continues to raise its profile as a university, faculty also continue to raise their profiles, broaden their networks and build competencies. A program like ELATE will help me do these things,” Bailey says. “You can learn a lot from others regarding the developmental path of a university. This looks like a wonderful professional development opportunity and a great way to develop meaningful relationships with the women in the cohort.”
The cohort group will begin work in May. Three week-long, in-residence sessions are required, the first taking place in August at Drexel University. All will be required to do an institute-focused project with either the president or provost of their respective institutions.
“A program like this does work to develop people to become more competitive and to become more prepared for upper level positions,” says Bailey, who will continue to teach, conduct research and fulfill her responsibilities as a faculty associate to the provost, a position she has held since 2010. She is the founding executive director of RIT’s Women in Engineering program and co-chairs the President’s Commission on Women, a campus organization charged with advising the president on issues related to increasing the representation of female undergraduate students and improving recruitment, retention and advancement of female faculty.
“Dr. Bailey has demonstrated substantial leadership across the campus through her work as a faculty associate for mentoring as well as the ADVANCE grant that has provided groundbreaking guidance and information in support of women faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas,” says RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner, who nominated Bailey for the fellowship. “The ELATE program is highly competitive, and RIT is proud that Margaret has been accepted.”
Bailey teaches thermodynamics and advises undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering students in support of her research. Since 2008 she and a multidisciplinary team of female faculty from RIT designed and implemented a self-study, called ADVANCE IT-Catalyst project, “Establishing the Foundation for Future Organizational Reform and Transformation at Rochester Institute of Technology,” also referred to as EFFORT@RIT, through the National Science Foundation. The grant is a multi-year study to understand best practices in retaining and advancing female faculty.