The goal of this project is to contribute to the development of a national science and engineering academic workforce that includes the full participation of women at all levels of faculty and academic leadership, particularly at the senior academic ranks, through the transformation of institutional practices, policies, climate and culture. This proposal presents a comprehensive, multi-layered approach addressing the institutional barriers inhibiting the progress of women in science and engineering. The research questions to be addressed are 1) what are the climate-related factors, barriers, attitudes, and experiences of women in science and engineering at UW-Madison, 2) to what extent are the current programs and the proposed initiatives successful in addressing these factors, 3) to what extent can the eventual institutional transformation model be replicated and extended to other campuses. A National Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) will be established to centralize collected data, monitor the success of the proposed efforts, implement a longitudinal data system, and ensure dissemination of best practices. In addition to establishing WISELI as a visible entity with campus-wide endorsement, new initiatives will include national workshops for academic women as well as chairs and deans; establishing 10 professorships/chairs to support the advancement of women in science and engineering in the Chancellor's endowment goals; awarding Life Cycle Research Grants at vulnerable career junctures; sponsoring Celebrating Women in Science and Engineering Seminar Series. Existing programs such as the Chancellor's Climate Initiative, dual-career hiring programs, the Women Faculty Mentoring Program, the Committee on Women, Sexual Harassment Information Sessions, and Gender Pay Equity studies will be evaluated for effectiveness and modified as needed for women in science and engineering. While the proposed project focuses on sustainable institutional change, it incorporates interventions to foster networking, mentoring, and role modeling for women graduate and postdoctoral trainees with the goal of filling the academic pipeline. Evaluation, directed by the Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation, and Dissemination (LEAD) Center, will be on-going and will inform development and redirection of initiatives in an iterative process of implementation, evaluation, and modification. Complementing the evaluation, an ethnographic study and linguistic discourse analysis will be conducted by a cultural anthropologist and linguist, respectively. The Chancellor has committed to making the program sustainable beyond the funding period by continuing support for a research position dedicated to the institutional study of the status of women, the endowed professorships, and planned efforts to raise funds to make WISELI a permanent element of the campus. The UW-Madison has all of the scientific, historical, administrative, and cultural ingredients to make it an ideal campus to develop and study innovative initiatives for true institutional change for women in science, both locally and as a model for other campuses.

The overall mission of the ADVANCE Program is to increase the participation of women in the scientific and engineering workforce through the increased representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Human Resource Development (HRD)
Cooperative Agreement (Coop)
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Jessie A. Dearo
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University of Wisconsin Madison
United States
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