Diversifying the US engineering workforce: A new model Academic Article uri icon


  • Existing approaches to increasing diversity conceptually pose the problem as a leaky pipeline. Although the pipeline model has supported several types of interventions, the mental model oversimplifies complexities of the underlying processes, focuses interventions at points of unwanted leakage, and suggests that leaks need to be plugged instead of systems renewed. Analysis suggests that even if leak-stopping interventions could be multiplied through significant increases in funding, they would remain insufficient to attain the goal of having student enrollments in engineering substantially reflect the demographics of the general population. Therefore, a new analogical model, which emphasizes flows of personal and interpersonal energy within the educational system, is offered to guide future interventions. Finally, suggestions for applying the model to increase diversity in engineering are proposed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Watson, K., & Froyd, J.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Watson, Karan||Froyd, Jeffrey

publication date

  • January 2007