New Books on Women in Science/Engineering and Graduate Education Reform
I thought things would settle down a bit after I got back home, but it appears my life is still more or less consumed with endless amounts of paperwork relating to my mother’s finances, change of addresses needing to be made, dealing with the insurance companies. I am sure this will all settle down into a normal routine of monthly paperwork soon, but right now it’s still an issue a minute. I seriously do not know how people deal with this when they have full time employment.
This all means I have little time/energy to spare for good blog posts still, so I thought I’d just offer up to you a list of some new titles you may find of interest. A few of these I intend to do book reviews on…someday…soon…anyway, here are the books you should be reading in your massive amounts of spare time:
The World of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Mathematician of God
by Massimo Mazzotti
…She was a child prodigy who frequented the salon circuit, discussing mathematics, philosophy, history, and music in multiple languages. She wrote one of the first vernacular textbooks on calculus and was appointed chair of mathematics at the university in Bologna. In later years, however, she became a prominent figure within the Catholic Enlightenment, gave up the academic world, and devoted herself to the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the homeless…Mazzotti reconstructs the wide spectrum of Agnesi’s social experience and examines her relationships to various traditions–religious, political, social, and mathematical. This meticulous study shows how she and her fellow Enlightenment Catholics modified tradition in an effort to reconcile aspects of modern philosophy and science with traditional morality and theology.
The Formation of Scholars: Rethinking Doctoral Education for the Twenty-First Century
by George E. Walker, Chris M. Golde, Laura Jones, Andrea Conklin Bueschel, and Pat Hutchings
Reviewed in Inside Higher Ed, here’s an excerpt:
Doctoral students have many needs, the book says. “It is rarely the case that one relationship can meet all those needs,” it adds. “Today’s students are thus best served by having several intellectual mentors. Incoming students, for instance, have evolving research interests that may or may not align perfectly with those of a single faculty member. And even if students’ interests closely parallel those of a single professor who becomes their adviser, novice learners benefit from seeing the field through different theoretical or methodological perspectives…. Multiple mentors can also increase the number of possible connections and collaborators available to each student.”
I could certainly have benefited in graduate school from having multiple mentors. When I got to the dissertation defense, suddenly everyone on my committee had a vision for what my research could or should be…my thesis – and graduate experience – would have been a lot better and more rewarding had these professors actually been involved with me throughout my graduate years.
The 21st Century Engineer: A Proposal for Engineering Education Reform
by Patricia D. Galloway
Reform seems to be in the air…this manifesto was penned by the first woman president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It connects a vision for engineering education to real-world issues and needs, and proposes a new Master of Professional Engineering Management degree as a necessity for engineering and, not incidentally, to save and create jobs for engineers who may find their traditional roles in industry being off-shored and outsourced.
The Hidden Giants
by Sethanne Howard
“Over 4,000 years of women in technology. Who knew?” An overview of women’s participation in science and engineering throughout the centuries, from Hypatia to Lynn Margulis and more. With an index by name. Downloadable from Lulu.
Transforming Science and Engineering: Advancing Academic Women
ed. by Abigail J. Stewart, Janet E. Malley, and Danielle LaVaque-Manty
A collective report of experiences with and outcomes from the NSF ADVANCE program at the various institutions developing and testing new approaches to deal with entrenched institutional barriers to women’s achievement. It is divided into four parts: Context, which addresses the question why do we need institutional transformation; Providing Institutional Support to Women Scientists and Engineers, which addresses mentoring, developing networks and professional connections, and developing family-supportive policies, or in other words, making existing frameworks work better for women; Transforming Institutional Practices, which deals with recruitment, tenure, and promotion practices; and Learning from Change, which deals with outcomes, sustainability, and “maximizing impact”, and includes a case study of a department with a successful and supportive culture for women. There are 19 individual contributions.
So much good stuff to read…so little time. Enjoy!