Prof. Dr. phil. Susanne Ihsen died suddenly on August 20, 2018. Professor Ihsen established the field of gender research in engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and made important contributions through her exemplary commitment to diversity policy at the university. She was 54.
Susanne Ihsen was born in Bielefeld in 1964. After completing vocational training in early childhood education, she studied social sciences at the University of Duisburg and RWTH Aachen, where she completed her doctorate in 1999 with a dissertation entitled “Towards the development of a new quality culture in engineering degree programs”. She then worked at the Association of German Engineers (VDI), where she headed the “Professions and careers” unit starting in 2001. In 2004 she joined TUM as Professor of Gender Studies in Engineering. In that role, she engaged in gender and diversity-based organizational research and worked to support and promote female students in the natural sciences.
Outside TUM, Prof. Ihsen served as the chair of the Gender and Diversity working group of the Société Européenne pour la formation des Ingénieurs (SEFI) and was a member of the executive boards of the Center of Competence for Technology-Diversity-Equal Opportunity and the European Journal of Engineering Education, among other commitments. She also supported numerous national and international commissions, committees and associations as an expert and consultant. In recognition of her contributions to the understanding of women's role in engineering sciences, she was awarded the Bavarian Constitutional Medal in 2015.
Wolfgang A. Herrmann, the president of TUM, said: “With her tireless commitment and her passion, Susanne Ihsen did important work to advance gender research in engineering. As a member of the teaching staff, she made substantial contributions to the high profile our university enjoys today at the interface of technology, research and society. We will always honor the memory of Susanne Ihsen.”