Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers

Submission of Proposal November 2013

Outcome: Unfortunately, not chosen for funding, but initiated the conversation for institutional transformation on campus and integration of the STEM faculty.

Originators: Professors Susan Pedigo, Kirsten Dellinger and Susan Grayzel

Final Proposal: Jones (Chancellor; PI); Stocks (Provost; co-PI); Dellinger (Chair &Assoc Prof Sociology; co-PI); Wells Dolan (Assoc Dean & Assoc Prof Education; co-PI); Pedigo (Prof Chem & Biochem; SP); Grayzel (Dir Isom Center & Prof History; SP); Green (Dir Ctr Pop Studies; SP & Proj Eval); Wolff (Ctr Edu Res & Eval; SP & Proj Eval); Bressler (Dir EORC; SP); Cole (Chief Diversity Officer; SP); Jekabsons (Assist Dir HR; SP); Eftink (Assoc Provost; SP); Kiss (Dean Grad School & Prof Biology; SP); Hale (Dir Research Resources; SP); Eppes (Chief Commun Officer; SP)

The University of Mississippi intends to submit an Institutional Transformation (IT) proposal. Our two-pronged approach is to (a) apply our own best practices in recruiting and supporting a diverse student body to STEM faculty recruitment and progression and (b) adapt and customize proven best practices in faculty recruitment and success innovated at other NSF Advance institutions for our own setting.

We will: 1) Conduct surveys of UM faculty and recruits to develop data that delineate our specific challenges to diversifying the STEM professoriate; 2) Conduct social science research to determine how the multifaceted factor of region impacts institutional structure, processes, policies, culture, and identity in institutions of higher learning (and affects women and people of color in STEM fields); 3) Create a STEM Recruitment Program with a Central Coordinator and Faculty Liaisons to transform the way we recruit and hire diverse STEM faculty; 4) Create a Start-up, Retention, and Promotion Fund to increase women senior STEM faculty and chairs and Core STEM women faculty of color; 5) Establish a Pathways committee to use survey and research data and Liaison/Recruiter feedback to improve and illuminate recruitment and advancement pathways at UM; and 6) Broadly apply what we learn in STEM to increase local, regional, and national awareness of the benefits of (and challenges to achieving) a diverse professoriate, especially in Deep South (and similar) settings.

Although the UM story varies across departments, we trail national and regional peers in the percentage of women-held professorships in our 10 core STEM departments (12%) and are in the bottom quartile among regional peers in women-held STEM professorships in our 4 SBS STEM departments. Through this program we aim to increase the number of women interviewed for STEM tenure-track positions by 100%; increase the aggregate percentage of women in tenure-track and tenured STEM positions by 75%; and increase the number STEM tenure/tenure track faculty who are women of color by 100%,with even distribution of these gains across the continuum of assistant, associate, and full professorships. We are committed to accomplishing the institutional transformation envisioned. The financial support of the NSF will be required for the most effective, efficient, and rapid transformation. We appreciate the opportunity to submit our plan for your review.