MU-ADVANCE Is Approaching The End


Marshall University garnered a National Science Foundation-ADVANCE grant in Fall 2006 to increase the recruitment and retention of female Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The goal was to empower a strong core of administrators and female STEM faculty to initiate and maintain institutional climate change, as well as to develop female STEM role models in the state of West Virginia and family-friendly policies and practices that can be implemented across the state. The Program developed faculty-administrator partnerships to drive change at the institution. Through these partnerships and evaluation, positive changes did occur. Many of the efforts of the program will be sustained through various offices on campus and through a Path Forward Committee that will continue to develop policies that will benefit faculty. Below are a few highlights.



All four of the MU-ADVANCE college affiliates (Science, Liberal Arts, Information Technology & Engineering, and the basic science departments in the School of Medicine) experienced an increase in gender equity during the Program’s tenure.

MU-ADVANCE, in collaboration with Career Services, developed The Dual Career Service, which helps the spouses/partners of new hires locate job opportunities in the area. In addition, the Program created the Candidate Resources Page, which offers information on a variety of local offerings and services.


Faculty Development

MU-ADVANCE provided tremendous support to female faculty over the six-year period, including:

  • Sixteen Female Faculty Fellowships were awarded. These fellowships, meant to enhance the careers of junior faculty, offered $15,000 in research funds to the awarded faculty member, as well as a $5,000 stipend to a senior collaborator to facilitate and/or maintain the Fellow’s research.
  • Three seed grants were awarded to female STEM faculty for research proposal development.
  • Thirteen New Female Faculty Fellowships were awarded to provide support during junior faculty’s first-year.
  • Forty-four Mini-Grants were awarded to female faculty to support travel, research proposal development, equipment purchases, and summer salary support.
  • Sponsored travel to more than 100 conferences, totaling more than $185,000.

Each Female Faculty Fellowship and New Faculty Fellowship also included individual coaching sessions with the Dr. Marcia Harrison, the Principal Investigator. These coaching sessions allowed the faculty member to discuss challenges and successes with a senior female faculty member.

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 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.


Policy Change

MU-ADVANCE wrote and proposed two policy changes, the Modified Duties Policy and the Pre-Tenure Review Policy, that were institutionalized at Marshall.



The Program administered two Faculty Job Satisfaction Surveys, as well as Offer Surveys (administered to faculty candidates to gain their perspective on Marshall’s recruitment process) and the Follow-Up Survey (a survey administered to new faculty to gauge their first-year experience). These surveys helped the Program identify barriers at the institution, whether in terms of faculty, professional development, and/or absent policies, to address.

We would like to thank our Co-Principal Investigators, Administrative Partners, External Evaluator, Editor, and all student assistants for helping make the program a success!


Marcia and Heidi