Intellectual Merit: The primary goal of this project is to promote the success of undergraduate women in STEM by making available ready-to-implement findings and recommendations from The National Study of Living Learning Programs (NSLLP) (HRD-GSE 0521762) to directors of living-learning (L/L) programs catering to women in STEM fields. Specifically, the findings and recommendations to be publicized focus on the L/L environments and practices that facilitate the success of undergraduate women in STEM in relation to their transition to college; academic, professional, and overall self-confidence; perceived intellectual growth; sense of belonging; retention in STEM majors; and educational and career plans after college graduation.
This diffusion effort has two components: a) the development of an interactive practice-oriented manual detailing successful L/L programming for women in STEM, distributed to directors of L/L programs that cater directly to women in STEM majors either through a women-only format (e.g., WIMSE programs) or through a co-educational STEM-based format, and b) a workshop for 50 L/L program directors taking place in conjunction with the 2009 Living-Learning Programs Conference. Through the practice-oriented manual and accompanying workshop, the project aims to provide L/L faculty and staff with recommendations based on findings from the NSLLP for creating, implementing, and continuously improving L/L practice. By introducing the workshop participants to one another, this diffusion effort will also leave a legacy of quality improvement by creating a network of women in STEM allies in L/L.
Broader Impacts: The proposed manual and workshop publicizing the findings of the NSLLP have the power to transform the undergraduate educational experience of women in STEM. This diffusion project thus represents the optimal marriage of the communication of rigorous research results with a high-impact, cost-efficient intervention and outreach for increasing gender equity for women in STEM. Importantly, the twin projects of the practice-oriented manual and workshop have the potential to reach a broad audience--perhaps the entire population of WISE L/L directors--and create a network of professionals whose legacy will be the improvement of the undergraduate experience for women in STEM.