Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering and Science Education

Committee Member

Karen A High

Committee Member

James L Huff

Committee Member

Marisa K Orr


This study examined the lived experiences of women as they navigate faculty pathways in engineering. This qualitative research study centered on the well-being journeys of seven women who have achieved tenure as engineering faculty to uncover how these women psychologically experienced and incorporated well-being across their personal and professional lives in support of their success, happiness, and satisfaction.

Leveraging qualitative research techniques aligned with the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodology, this study elicited and systematically analyzed accounts of well-being across participants’ professional and personal life spaces. The well-being journeys of seven participants, JoAnn, Rose, Marie, Allison, Dylan, Mary, and Gabriella, who have navigated the faculty pathway to tenure and beyond in several universities and engineering sub-disciplines are described here. Their rich stories weave together successes and challenges commonly faced by many in engineering including managing demands of professional and personal roles, establishing trusting relationships, resilience against marginalizing cultures and climates, and supporting one’s own success within engineering departments and universities widely.

This work reveals four psychological patterns, or themes, from the accounts of women engineering educators in order to illuminate challenges faced by women faculty within engineering disciplines as well as to offer examples of what actionable well-being strategies could look like for faculty and for those who support them. Through the analysis and interpretation of their accounts, readers gain insight into challenges faced, strategies engaged, and benefits of maintaining well-being as a woman faculty member. Their experiences illustrate the subtle and overt ways faculty identities and success may be marginalized by immediate colleagues and how a faculty member may ensure her own success and well-being through seeking positive relationships in external spaces. By presenting participants’ accounts, the findings demonstrate approaches faculty could potentially adopt to circumvent toxic professional environments and enhance their own well-being. This study provides strategies that can be adopted by others in their own pursuit of professional success (however success may be defined by the individual).



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.