Women make up majority of Carnegie Mellon first-years

Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief Credit: India Price/Editor-in-Chief

Carnegie Mellon University’s first-year class of 2021+ has a majority of women for the first time in the University’s history, marking another milestone among the top universities that are bridging the gender and minority gaps in certain fields. 51 percent of the class of 2021+ are women, and specifically the proportion of women in Carnegie Mellon’s six undergraduate colleges continues to increase.
Interim president Farnam Jahanian, interim provost Laurie Weingart, and Dean of Admissions Michael Steidel suggest that Carnegie Mellon’s progress in attracting more women in the last few years is the result of strategic academic and professional planning within each college, as well as the whole university’s endeavor to prioritize building a sense of community based on diversity and inclusion.

This year especially, women make up 57 percent of Tepper School of Business’ undergraduate class, which is not just noticeably high among top-ranked national business programs but also a personal feat for the college itself, since this percentage is 12 percent higher than the already-increasing rates from last year.

Robert Dammon, Dean of Tepper, explained that Tepper is distinguished as a business school, because it is at the crossroads of business, technology, and analytics. Recently, Tepper’s academic programs as well as its allocation of resources has helped drive specific niches in the college to increase inclusion and teamwork-based projects.

Tepper’s Community Conversations is just one of the undergraduate initiatives taken by the college across its undergraduate, masters, and doctoral-level programs. In Tepper Community Conversations, undergraduate students, faculty, and staff members discuss opportunities and methods to enhance learning experiences. The construction of the David A. Tepper Quadrangle provides physical, localized learning spaces for school-based and professional collaboration.

In a university press release, Steidel states, “As we look at the factors that helped attract this record-breaking class, each college and school has its own story to tell.” Women make up 49.8 percent in the freshman class’s computer science program and 43 percent of the freshman class’s engineering program. Also, Mellon College of Science has its largest first-year class ever with 285 students including interdisciplinary scholars, and Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences was recently hailed for its growing number of students, particularly women, in its most popular field of statistics and data science.

All this happens as Carnegie Mellon admission rates show increased competition as incoming SAT scores remain high, but it is important to remember that numbers can only tell us so much. Any school should not merely count or recite the numbers of its women or other minorities; this is only considered an advancement if paralleled with progress to build a better community. As seen in the case of Tepper, Carnegie Mellon should be celebrated for its dedication to “de-bias” certain programs, monitor how underrepresented groups succeed, and prioritize inclusivity in all settings.