Although women and men are near parity at early career levels in many research fields, women are underrepresented in senior ranks, leaving unrealized the full potential of their vital contributions to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). The National Academies of Science examined the reasons for inequities in the career advancement of women in STEMM and concluded that biases deeply rooted in assumptions about gender - sometimes conscious but more frequently unconscious - pose the greatest barrier to gender equity. The proposed research confronts this issue through three Specific Aims:
Specific Aim #1. Clarify the relationships among department climate, academic productivity, job satisfaction, intent to leave, and attrition for male and female faculty members. This will be accomplished using path analysis and structural equation modeling of existing survey data of STEMM faculty, a new survey wave, and publicly available data.
Specific Aim #2. Test the impact of a Bias Literacy Workshop on faculty (a) motivation to respond without bias, (b) equity self-efficacy, (c) positive equity outcomes expectations;and department climate. This will involve a group-randomized controlled trial with 45 matched pairs of STEMM departmental bodies and a workshop intervention that incorporates principles of adult learning and intentional behavioral change.
Specific Aim #3. Examine receptivity and resistance to an equity intervention (Bias Literacy Workshop) through verbal and non-verbal cues. This will be accomplished through conversation analysis of video recordings during pilot development of the workshops. This work capitalizes on the synergistic expertise of an interdisciplinary research team, two waves of survey data on over 1100 STEMM faculty and the size of the University of Wisconsin-Madison which enables matching 90 departmental STEMM groups. This project is expected to yield: 1) a measure of institutional change in the form of department climate that correlates with meaningful outcomes, 2) a Bias Literacy Workshop as an equity intervention ready for dissemination, and 3) a taxonomy and set of digital video materials on patterns of faculty responses and real-time communicative strategies that can be used to enhance the effectiveness of the equity intervention.
The Institute of Medicine calls for increasing the diversity of leaders in academic health sciences as one effective intervention to reduce and eliminate health disparities among populations in this country. The goal of the proposed work is to promote gender diversity in STEMM academic leaders by understanding the importance of department climate in successful career development and by educating members of the academic community to recognize bias and promote egalitarian behavior toward all groups of women.
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