Gender distribution differs by school

subhead: Engineering draws highest number of males, Nursing and Communications top for females.

The University of Miami’s distribution of gender remains uneven across the different schools on campus. However, the gender breakdown amongst all undergraduates is almost equal.

For the past five years, the College of Engineering’s undergraduates were 70 percent male, while the School of Communication and School of Nursing and Health Studies had over 60 percent and 90 percent females, respectively.

Even within the School of Communications, men are the majority in the motion picture major, while women dominate broadcast journalism, advertising, and public relations.

According to School of Communication Dean Sam Grogg, this reflects a national trend.

“The advertising and especially public relations professions traditionally attract more female students than male. The motion picture profession—on the production side—has traditionally been male dominated.”

“On the executive side, there is an increasing number of females,” he continued to say.

David T. Poole, director of admissions at the College of Engineering, expressed similar remarks.

“People’s perceptions become realities,” he said about students self-stereotyping themselves into a field because of their sex.

Nationally, about 82 percent of students in an engineering program are male. UM was ranked tenth in the nation for the highest percentage of female students in engineering programs, ACCORDING TO WHOM????.

“Only in the past 20 to 30 years have women entered the workforce en masse,” Poole said.

That said, he does note that the number of women in the College of Engineering is growing, citing a rising awareness of new job opportunities in construction and thinking in academic and professional circles.

“Look at how 9/11 altered ideas on building construction, or the green movement, and the importance for engineering systems to advance us to the next level. Engineers are needed to solve these problems.”

Similar remarks came from Grogg about the equalizing trend in the School of Communication.

“I think the change is primarily due to the increasing reality that the communication related professions are expanding. These related areas are important to all aspects of human endeavor and students, male and female, want to engage with communication media to change the world for the better.”

In the classrooms, however, students note little difference in experience based on gender distribution.

“I don’t mind it. I’m used to it,” Shely Benaim, the only female in the 2010 electrical engineering class, said.

Student Government Senator for the College of Engineering Omar de Leom, a senior, remarked that engineering majors “cherish” their handful of electives outside their major.

September 30, 2009


Mason Powell

Contributing News Writer

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