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Dr. Eleanor Baum is Dean of Engineering at The Cooper Union in New York City and Executive Director of the Cooper Union Research Foundation. She is an electrical engineer who received her Ph.D. from Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1964 after undergraduate studies at City College of New York. She earned the distinction of "first woman dean" of an engineering school in the U.S. when she was named Dean of Pratt Institute's School of Engineering in 1984. Baum joined the engineering faculty at Pratt Institute in 1965 as Assistant Professor, and previously served as the Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department in 1971.
Baum began her career in the aerospace industry working for Sperry Rand Corporation and General Instrument Corporation. Although she soon entered academia while working on her doctorate, Baum maintained her ties to industry through consulting.
Baum has played leadership roles in numerous professional associations and national engineering education initiatives. She is the first female president of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), has served as president of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), has sat on the National Science Foundation's Engineering Advisory Board, and has been involved with the Engineering Manpower Commission. Baum has also garnered many accolades for her work. She is a fellow of ABET, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and ASEE. In 1988 she won the Emily Warren Roebling Award, presented by the National Women's Hall of Fame; in 1990 she was awarded the SWE Upward Mobility Award; and in 1996 she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.
Nationally recognized for her efforts in advancing engineering education and promoting engineering as a career for women and minorities, Baum has conducted national surveys of women in engineering and undergraduate women engineering students. She frequently writes, speaks, and is interviewed about engineering education issues.
View video clips from Eleanor Baum's oral history interview.
Read the transcript from Eleanor Baum's oral history interview.