FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marshall University receives $1.2 million federal grant
to promote women faculty in science, technology, engineering and math
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University has received a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE Program, thus joining a prestigious community of NSF-ADVANCE institutions dedicated to supporting women scientists and engineers in the United States.
Marshall joins the ranks of ADVANCE institutions such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell University, which seek to encourage the participation of women in the scientific and engineering workforce through the increased representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.
The MU-ADVANCE program will impact faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in four MU colleges through an integrated approach composed of::
“The innovative MU-ADVANCE initiatives will bring positive, sustainable changes in the academic climate for all STEM faculty at Marshall University,” Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said. “This funding will enable Marshall to serve as an incubator for policy changes and for pioneering approaches, which can serve as models for other universities and colleges in West Virginia and other states.”
Dr. Marcia Harrison, MU-ADVANCE principal investigator, said Marshall as a whole will benefit from campus-wide activities to help new faculty balance and integrate their teaching and research, build competitive research programs, and form interdisciplinary collaborative networks, as well as from the implementation of best practices for improving recruitment, retention and climate.
MU Provost Dr. Sarah Denman said the MU-ADVANCE program will greatly benefit the community of science at Marshall and complement the university’s programmatic direction of STEM disciplines.
“The results of this program will benefit students by enhancing and expanding opportunities for innovative educational programs and research capability for women scientists and engineers who will teach, conduct research and mentor them,” Denman said.
According to NSF-ADVANCE program materials, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in almost all science and engineering fields, despite advances in the proportion of women choosing to pursue science and engineering careers. Women constitute only about 25 percent of the science and engineering workforce at large, and less than 21 percent of science and engineering faculty in four-year colleges and universities.
In fact, women represent 21 percent of the STEM faculty at Marshall, where 53 percent of undergraduates and 69 percent of graduate students are women.
In addition, Marshall predominantly serves West Virginia residents (83 percent), many of whom are first-generation college students from Appalachia. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “West Virginia 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, increasing the number and success of women faculty at Marshall will provide greatly needed role models for the state.
“Quite simply, West Virginia needs to build academic and research capacity in STEM fields. Our state’s economic growth and social development depends on it,” said Kay Goodwin, West Virginia’s Secretary of the Education and the Arts. “The best way to build academic and research capacity is to strengthen research universities such as Marshall. And one of the most effective ways to strengthen our research universities is to ensure that women faculty in STEM fields have every opportunity to achieve their professional and intellectual potential.”
Harrison said Marshall differs from the other ADVANCE institutions, most of which are large doctoral/research universities. “Therefore, successes of the MU-ADVANCE program will serve as an ideal model for change for other institutions similar to Marshall,” she said.
Dr. Alice Hogan, program director for ADVANCE, praised all ADVANCE institutions, including Marshall.
“You have illuminated the pathways by which the nation can act with purpose and intent to engage the full power of intellect of women scientists and engineers,” Hogan said. “At a time when our nation’s ambitions to address major scientific and engineering challenges are so very dependent on engaging the broadest participation of human talent in this country that we can, your work is critical and inspiring.”
For more information about MU-ADVANCE, contact Marcia Harrison, MU-ADVANCE principal investigator, College of Science, Marshall University at (304) 696-4867 or visit http://www.marshall.edu/mu-advance.