Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers


UD NSF ADVANCE at a Glance


The goal of this ADVANCE PAID project is to transform the culture for women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at the University of Delaware by educating STEM faculty and administrators in best practices for the recruitment and retention of women faculty. Building on successful ADVANCE programs at the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, this goal will be achieved by (1) developing a cohort of faculty to prepare and lead workshops for STEM faculty and administrators on recruitment best practices and “mentoring the mentors”; implementing an ongoing mentoring and educational process for tenured faculty by creating a faculty working group, thereby increasing ensuring that the workshops and training are relevant, accepted, continuing, institutionalized, and transferrable; and (3) establishing a cohort of faculty leaders and administrators with awareness and understanding of how gender schemas and bias, unconscious marginalization, and the accumulation of disadvantage negatively affect women’s careers. The workshops will be planned by a gender-balanced group of prominent faculty members, and plans are in place to enable the program to be institutionalized and continued beyond the grant period. UD has documented strong institutional support through the commitment of human and financial resources. The PIs on the program include the deans of both colleges involved in the STEM recruitment and mentoring efforts. In addition, strong support has been expressed by the Provost, the Vice Provost, and STEM chairs. The Evaluation and Assessment Center for Mathematics and Science Education in Ohio will serve as the external evaluator for the project.

Broader Impacts

The work under this project will spread best practices from the College of Engineering at UD to the College of Arts and Sciences natural sciences and ultimately throughout the University. Additionally, as an ADVANCE PAID project, one aspect of this work is to broaden the impact of work carried out at other ADVANCE institutions through its adaptation to and dissemination throughout another institution. The University of Delaware is a smaller institution than the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, so our use and modification of their ADVANCE materials may highlight different issues that impact female faculty at a research institution with a strong history of promoting undergraduate research while maintaining externally funded research programs.

Intellectual Merit

This project will educate a STEM-based faculty and administration on concrete research results regarding unconscious biases held by both men and women; on the effect of these gender schemas on our institutional polices, recruitment, and retention processes; and on the ways that these policies can be changed (especially recruitment methods and evaluative methods) to reduce the effect of these biases. It is critical that these biases, and their cumulative effects on women (and on other underrepresented groups), be recognized and formally addressed. The successful implementation of this program will result in excellence in hiring and in diverse perspectives brought to STEM research areas.

-Taken from the NSF site-