University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

1Big Ten(1) Women's Workshop

March 23-24, 2016

Pfister Hotel

Milwaukee, WI

draft mtg agenda




Very few opportunities exist for junior women faculty in engineering to network, foster peer mentoring relationships and interact with other female engineering faculty, particularly with female role models. This lack of professional interaction is often cited as an important contributing factor to the under-representation of women on engineering faculties. The disproportionate absence of women faculty, especially since it exists at large engineering schools, is believed to also be adversely affecting the representation of women in the engineering workforce. 


The proposed workshop for junior women engineering faculty from the Big 10 schools with the following purposes:

All women assistant professors in their first three years of an academic appointment in engineering at a Big 10 school will be invited. In addition, senior woman faculty members from each Big 10 School will attend to lead workshops, panel discussions and breakout group sessions.

Key program elements

Keynote speaker:
  Dr. Natacha Depaola, Dean, College of Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Skills development program:  Workshops addressing specific skills for junior faculty are provided.  These workshops include:


Peer Mentoring: The critical friends workshops help participants develop problem-solving skills mentoring.

Networking event:  Participants have an opportunity to use their elevator pitches to meet others at the event and cultivate collaborations

Deans Panel: One of the most popular (with both the Deans and the participants) program elements has been the Dean’s Panel.  Participants have the opportunity to listen to Deans from participating schools and ask questions of the Deans.

Coaching: Dr. Sunainia Sharma will provide an introductory session to professional coaching and the manner by which coaching can accelerate career advancement.

Race and Gender: We will have a moderated lunch discussion addressing the intersection of race and gender in engineering and the challenges faced by female faculty of color.


Benefits for Attendees

Previous workshop attendees (in 2010 and 2013) were surveyed in 2015. Many Workshop participants indicated that they developed relationships with mentors/mentees and/or collaborators from their participation; moreover, several of these relationships have continued several years after the Workshop. These results suggest the value and importance of the Workshop for increasing networking opportunities and peer collaboration for the junior women engineers. Some of the key findings from the data regarding mentoring and collaborations include:




Apart from fostering mentoring relationships and research collaborations, developing women faculty members’ professional skills was also a major focus of the Workshop. Junior and senior attendee responses regarding the impact the Workshop had on their professional skills provides evidence of its effectiveness in this regard. Key findings from the professional skills items include:


Organizing committee:


Ellen Arruda,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan,


Alison Flatau,
Professor of Aerospace Engineering,
University of Maryland,

Jennifer Bernhard,
Associate Dean for Research,
College of Engineering University of Illinois,

Allison Hubel,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,

(Conference Chair)


Naomi Chesler,
Professor of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin,

Mary Juhas, Associate Vice President, Ohio State ADVANCE, Office of Research, Clinical Professor,
Materials Science & Engineering, Ohio State University,


Lola Eniola-Adefeso,
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering,
University of Michigan,

Dawn Tilbury, Associate Dean of Research,
College of Engineering,
University of Michigan,


Resources for family care


We will provide information on childcare in the call for the workshop.  Costs for one or two on site sitters will be included in the budget for the conference and these sitters can be cancelled if there is no interest on the part of participants


For questions regarding BTWW:

Allison Hubel, PhD




1There are 14 schools in the Big 10 athletic conference, and all of them have engineering programs:  Illinois, Indiana Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin.


(1) Schools include: Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska and University of Wisconsin.





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