The mission of the Chair is to advance engineering and science as welcoming careers that serve our world through holistic understanding and creative, appropriate and sustainable solutions.
The primary focus of the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon) is to promote Science and Engineering as an excellent career choice for women and other under-represented groups, and to identify and eliminate barriers that result in attrition from these career paths. To address the challenges described above, three strategic thrusts for this Chair, aligned with the overarching NSERC goals for this program, are identified:
- Awareness and Outreach. The Chair supports and builds on the excellent K-12 science and engineering awareness and outreach activities ongoing in BC/Yukon by establishing and supporting a sustainable WWEST (Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology) network resource, and by providing funding and training to groups through the WWEST Partners program.
- Recruitment. The Chair focuses on recruitment and retention activities in the areas of Science and Engineering that currently are under-represented by women. We are developing Community Service Learning (CSL) opportunities as a tool for recruitment and retention into academic programs, to publicly promote the many opportunities within engineering and science careers to work collaboratively to create positive changes in local and global communities.
- Retention and Industry Support. Working with groups in industry and academe, the Chair supports career development workshops and disseminates case study examples and compiled “best practices” guidelines for retaining women in SET careers and facilitating career transitions around family responsibilities. Partnering with social science researchers, our research focuses on practices that reap the benefits of diversity and create a respectful, supportive, productive and healthy workplace for women and men.