>This article focuses upon programs for undergraduate women in science and engineering, which are a strategic research site in the study of gender, science, and higher education. The design involves both quantitative and qualitative approaches, linking theory, method, questions, and analyses in ways not undertaken previously. Using a comprehensive, quantitative, cross-institutional, and longitudinal method, two extreme groups of programs are distinguished: those associated with the “most successful” and “least successful” outcomes in undergraduate degrees awarded to women in science and engineering. Qualitative analyses of interview data with key players in the programs in these two groups point to ways in which definitions of issues, problems, and solutions diverge (as well as converge), and thus to conceptual underpinnings that have important real-life consequences in these organizational settings of higher education. The programs that regard issues, problems, and solutions of women in science and engineering as rooted in “institutional/structural-centered,” as opposed to “individual/student-centered,” perspectives are associated with the most positive outcomes in undergraduate degrees awarded to women in science and engineering.
We study how the achievements of university students are influenced by the characteristics and achievements of peers in individuals’ social networks. Defining peer group in terms of friendship and study partner ties enables us to apply a network regression model and thereby disentangle the influence of peers’ performance from that of peers’ background. We find significant positive peer effects via the academic achievements of friends and study partners. Students’ grades increase with the abilities of study partners, who may or may not also be friends; no such effect is observed for friends who are not also study partners. Additionally, the effects of the abilities of other classmates are found to be insignificant. The results support the claim that peer influence acts mainly through knowledge-sharing channels between students who are connected by social ties