Holloway chosen to serve on NAE diversity-focused committee

Beth Holloway has accepted an invitation from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to serve as a member of its planning committee for the workshop, “Sharing Exemplary Admissions Practices That Promote Diversity in Engineering.” The workshop is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Beth M. Holloway

Holloway, one of only five invited members from universities across the country, is assistant dean for Diversity and Engagement and the Leah H. Jamieson Director of Women in Engineering at Purdue.

The committee and NAE staff will engage engineering deans and other administrators as well as researchers in engineering education, diversity, and equity in a collaborative process that will highlight and encourage the diffusion of effective admissions practices that improve diversity in engineering education.

“I’m really looking forward to this workshop and talking to administrators and researchers about what has been possible for diversifying the student body and what we can bring back to Purdue,” said Holloway.

Goals of the committee are to:

  • Provide national recognition to institutions that are effectively diversifying engineering education using admissions policies
  • Provide guidance to institutions that are developing or researching admissions policies to advance diversity but have not yet met with success
  • Define directions for future research on both best practices in engineering and admissions criteria, metrics, and policies and how those practices fit into the larger system of recruiting and retaining engineering students from all backgrounds.

Committee members, between June 2019 and March 2020, will draft criteria, solicit nominations, and select approximately 10 exemplary programs or policies that have resulted in increased diversity among undergraduate engineering students. The workshop will convene in Irvine, Calif., in April 2020, when attendees from those programs as well as others chosen by an application process will gather to share knowledge with each other about improving the diversity of their institution’s engineering program.

“The committee will be clearly overseeing and planning this workshop, but we also will be putting together a list of criteria by which we would judge the applicants and then invite them to the workshop,” Holloway explained.

“This workshop is about dissemination of best practices and talking to each other about the possibilities and processes we can use to help diversify the student body ,” she said.

After the workshop has concluded, committee members will publish and circulate the workshop proceedings.

“The hope is that someone could look at the proceedings, see what happened, and take away the best and most promising practices so that they could do some of these things as well,” Holloway said.

In her role as assistant dean, Holloway is focused on diversity in all of its forms. “Diversity begins with who is admitted to Purdue. I think there are a lot of possibilities for this workshop and what we will learn.”

The other four workshop committee members are from the University of Maryland, University of Texas El Paso, University of Colorado Boulder, and University of Kansas.

Holloway is the recipient of several awards and appointments, including the 2015 ASEE William E. Wickenden Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2014. The paper, titled Research-Informed Policy Change: A Retrospective on Engineering Admissions, she believes, likely prompted her NAE workshop invitation. On July 1, she will begin a term on the board of directors with the American Society for Engineering Education.