CORVALLIS, Ore. – Scott Ashford, Kearney Dean of Engineering at Oregon State University, has been honored by the Society of Women Engineers for his contributions to the acceptance and advancement of women in engineering professions.
Ashford is one of three recipients of the 2019 Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award. The others are Gregory Hyslop of Boeing and Jennifer Rumsey of Cummins Inc. The Chipp award is named for the husband of original Society of Women Engineers President Beatrice Hicks. Chipp was director of engineering for the Du Mont TV network and known for his support of Hicks’ efforts on behalf of female engineers.
Since Ashford took over as dean in 2014, the number of women among the college’s tenured or tenure-track faculty has more than doubled; 50 of the college’s 200 tenured or tenure-track faculty are women.
According to the American Society for Engineering Education, the OSU College of Engineering ranks second nationally among land-grant universities for percentage of tenured or tenure-track faculty who are women and third among the nation’s 94 public “R1’s” – universities having the Carnegie Classification for very high research activity. R1 is Carnegie’s highest classification for universities.
“The College of Engineering has created a more inclusive environment in support of female engineers by taking a deep look at the root causes of longstanding barriers and implementing programs to achieve the desired changes,” Ashford said. “The transformation began with a strategic planning process, which led to changes in faculty recruitment, promotion and tenure, and professional development. The process includes a ‘change team’ working as an overarching body to support a change in the culture.
“Recognition like these distinctions demonstrates the progress we’ve made in diversity and inclusion,” Ashford added. “We also know that we still have work to do in changing the culture and creating an environment where every member of our engineering community feels a sense of belonging.”
Earlier this summer, the American Society for Engineering Education selected the OSU College of Engineering as an “exemplar” recipient of a Bronze Award in the first year of the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program.
Of 74 schools that received a Bronze Award, Oregon State was one of 28 awarded the highest recognition offered in the program’s inaugural year.
The ASEE Diversity Recognition Program was created to accelerate goals spelled out in the ASEE Diversity Pledge and to “publicly recognize those engineering and engineering technology colleges that make significant, measurable progress in increasing the diversity, inclusion, and degree attainment outcomes of their programs,” according to the program’s website.
The program includes recognition at three levels of achievement: Bronze, Silver and Gold. An institution must attain the Bronze level first before applying for Silver and must have the Silver level before applying for Gold. Because this year is the first year recognition is being conferred, only the Bronze level can be awarded.
Ashford said that the college “is committed to this important initiative” and has included achieving Gold status as a performance goal in the college’s strategic plan. Success in the recognition program is measured by diversity in enrollments; retention and graduation rates; and increased diversity in faculty and in the workforce.
At Oregon State, Ashford oversees the 10th-largest engineering program in the United States based on undergraduate enrollment, a program that includes more than 9,000 students and more than 400 faculty and staff.
About the OSU College of Engineering: The OSU College of Engineering is among the nation's largest and most productive engineering programs. Since 2010, the college has more than doubled its research awards to $56.8 million by emphasizing highly collaborative research that solves global problems. It is a leader in signature research areas, including precision health, clean energy, resilient infrastructure and advanced manufacturing; and targeted strategic areas, including robotics, materials research and clean water.