Alice Pawley

Associate Professor
Mailing Addresses
Office: ARMS 1325 Armstrong Hall
Phone: (765) 496-1209


Alice Pawley is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Program and the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University.

She was co-PI of Purdue’s ADVANCE program from 2008-2014, focusing on the underrepresentation of women in STEM faculty positions. She runs the Feminist Research in Engineering Education (FREE, formerly RIFE, group), whose diverse projects and group members are described at She received a CAREER award in 2010 and a PECASE award in 2012 for her project researching the stories of undergraduate engineering women and men of color and white women. She has received ASEE-ERM’s best paper award for her CAREER research, and the Denice Denton Emerging Leader award from the Anita Borg Institute, both in 2013. She helped found, fund, and grow the PEER Collaborative, a peer mentoring group of early career and recently tenured faculty and research staff primarily evaluated based on their engineering education research productivity.

Prof. Pawley's goal through her work at Purdue is to help people, including the engineering education profession, develop a vision of engineering education as more inclusive, engaged, and socially just. To do this, she believes in saying what needs to be said - to colleagues, students, and the profession as a whole. She sees community as her religion in how she mentors graduate students, engages with colleagues in her local department, seeks collaborations with colleagues across disciplines and across the country, and engages actively as a citizen in local, state, and national progressive politics. She believes that waste - of anything, including time, energy, effort, or materials - is a form a disrespect to oneself and others, and strives to use organizational systems to better focus both her and her students' attention on doing this important work together. She also believes that noticing daily details about people's lives honours us all as human beings, and shows this through getting curious about students and colleagues' lives to recognize the realities everyone is dealing with as we come to do our work together. It is through these core values that Prof. Pawley tries to embody and advance a more inclusive, engaged, and socially just vision of engineering education.

She can be contacted by email at


Madison, Wisconsin USA


B.Eng (Chemical), Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering, McGill University
M.S (Industrial), masters of science in industrial engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D (Industrial), Doctor of philosophy in industrial engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interests

Use of qualitative methods to investigate engineering epistemology, engineering identity, and boundary work to understand better how to make engineering an inclusive discipline. Crossing the boundaries of engineering education, science and technology studies, and women's studies, this research focuses on how, what, and why we (engineers and engineering educators) understand engineering to be.

Selected Publications

Riley, Donna, Amy Slaton, and Alice L. Pawley,"Social Justice and Inclusion: Women and Minorities in Engineering." In the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research, Aditya Johri and Barbara Olds eds. Invited contribution. Cambridge University Press 2014. (Book chapter)

Pawley, Alice L. “What counts as ‘engineering’?: Towards a Redefinition.” Chapter 3, pp. 59-85. In Engineering and Social Justice: In the University and Beyond. Purdue University Press, 2012

Pawley, Alice L. “Universalized narratives: patterns in how faculty define ‘engineering." Journal of Engineering Education 98(4) pp. 309-319. 2009. (Tier 1)

Awards, Honors, Achievements, & Memberships

  • ENE Award for Excellence in Mentoring, 2015
  • Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award (2013) from Anita Borg Institute
  • Benjamin Dasher Award, FIE, 2013
  • ASEE ERM Best paper award, 2013
  • AAEE Best paper award, 2012
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2011
  • CAREER award, 2010
  • NAE CASEE Faculty Fellow, 2007
  • ASEE ERM Apprentice Faculty Grant, 2007
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ERM, Liberal Studies, & WIED)
  • International Network for Engineering Studies
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network
  • National Women's Studies Association (Science and Technology Task Force)
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science
  • Society for History of Technology

Fun Facts

Triple citizen
Once scared a cougar away from killing my dog
Plays violin and piano (but not as well as I once did)
Lived in France, UK, and Canada