Gender dominated academic programs in higher education: associate's degree attainment of males in nursing and females in engineering in the 21st century
Achieving gender parity in higher education has been a dynamic process. While female enrollments typically outnumber male student enrollments, most notably at Associate’s colleges, gender gaps in male-dominated academic programs such as engineering continue to persist. Contrary to the male-dominated fields of study, this gender gap can also be observed in other academic areas such as the allied health sciences, where female student enrollments largely outnumber those of males. The study analyzed longitudinal data from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Data Center on the completions of Associate’s degrees in engineering and nursing at public two-year colleges over a period of 13 academic years from 2000-2001 through 2012-2013, in order to determine the relationships among the completions of Associate’s degrees of males and females in these gender-dominated populations in reference to the completion of all Associate’s degrees awarded to males and females from public Associate’s colleges. This study analyzed the differences in Associate’s degree completions among institutional categories according to the Carnegie Classification 2010 Basic system and geographic regions of the U. S. in regards to the completions of Associate’s degrees of males and females in nursing and engineering programs. This study determined that gender gaps continue to persist regarding the awards of Associate’s degrees in traditionally gender-dominated academic programs. Both engineering and nursing fields had little changes among the awards of Associate’s degrees to the underrepresented gender for the time period observed across all institutional types and geographic regions of the U. S.