The NSF-ADVANCE Mission is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. NSF-ADVANCE Site.
The MU-ADVANCE Program Mission was to increase recruitment and retention of female STEM faculty at Marshall through faculty development initiatives, enhanced recruitment efforts, and improved institutional climate.
MU-ADVANCE Program Summary:
The goal was to empower a strong core of administrators and female science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty to initiate and maintain institutional climate, and to improve the recruitment and success of female faculty.
The Program provided a unique setting in which to test an important model of faculty-administrator partnerships for implementing change at a primarily undergraduate institution and within the West Virginia (WV) higher education system. The MU-ADVANCE Program impacted STEM faculty in four of Marshall's colleges through an integrated approach comprised of three initiatives: 1) Recruitment and Networking; 2) Faculty Development; and 3) State and Institutional Policy.
Broader impact: Designed to spark institutional transformation, MU-ADVANCE was successful in creating institutional change that benefitted all faculty, men and women, across disciplines and colleges. Marshall predominantly serves WV residents (~83%), many of whom are first generation college students from Appalachia. Of Marshall's student population, 53% of undergraduates and 69% of graduate students are female. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, "WV women are among the least likely to work as professionals and managers, have the lowest levels of educational attainment in the country, and are much more likely to live in poverty than women nationally." Therefore, by increasing the number and success of female faculty at Marshall, MU-ADVANCE believed this growth would provide the greatly needed role models and increase the number of female professionals in the area, thus improving the status of women in WV. During the MU-ADVANCE tenure, 20 new female STEM faculty members were recruited to Marshall.
Overall, the MU-ADVANCE Program strengthened the infrastructure for integrating research and education at Marshall. Participating faculty benefitted from professional development activities, such as fellowships, mini-grants, and grant-writing workshops. In total, MU-ADVANCE awarded more than $500,000 in fellowships and mini-grants funding. This funding allowed recipients to purchase equipment, hire students, travel to conferences and laboratories to confer with other investigators, retain a senior collaborator, etc. MU-ADVANCE supported over 100 conference trips, totaling nearly $185,000. MU-ADVANCE hosted several networking events that provided a "free space" for female faculty to build a community and rapport with fellow faculty. Often times, these events led to solving teaching, service, and research problems through testimonies from senior faculty and/or brainstorming sessions. In addition, the Program recruited two external workshop leaders, Dr. Meggin McIntosh, who conducted two separate workshops, "Poised for Life…Poised for Success…Maintaining Equilibrium as a Woman in Academia" and "Deputize…The Delegate," and Dr. Tara Gray, who conducted the writing workshop, "Publish and Flourish." In January 2011, MU-ADVANCE sponsored The University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching's (CRLT) Theatre Program, often referred to as the "Michigan Players," to kick off the Spring semester with "First Class" and "Institutional Change: The Musical."
MU-ADVANCE has also co-sponsored the university's Campus Conversations, the Center for Teaching and Learning's Speed Mentoring Program, the Research Boot Camp, and New Faculty Orientation, and several events with The Office of Multicultural Affairs, including The Diversity Roundtable.
Although not quantifiable at this point, we believe Appalachian STEM students have benefitted from interactions with female STEM faculty, both in the classroom and in the research lab. We also believe that the faculty CoPIs benefitted through their partnerships with MU administrators in overseeing the Program, while being empowered by effecting change at Marshall.
Marshall as a whole benefitted from the campus-wide activities that helped new faculty balance and integrate their teaching, service, and research. In addition, the campus gained more competitive research programs; while faculty were exposed to more interdisciplinary collaborative networks. Marshall now has a set of best practices to utilize to continue improving recruitment, retention, and campus climate.
The Appalachian Region may benefit from best practices developed by the Program, if institutions of higher education choose to accept MU-ADVANCE's generous offer to help them emulate the program's recruitment, retention, and policy efforts on their campuses. Masters-granting colleges and universities can use MU-ADVANCE's successful practices and outcomes as a model for positive change. The region will also benefit from potential economic impact of the local research, and from successful female role models.