CMU receives National Science Foundation grant to foster gender inclusivity in STEM

| Author: Robert Wang | Media Contact: Robert Wang

Central Michigan University has set its sights on shattering the glass ceiling in STEM fields. In a groundbreaking move, the university secured the esteemed National Science Foundation ADVANCE Adaptation award in August 2023, a prestigious grant amounting to $990,183 over three years. The primary objective? To propel the representation and advancement of women faculty in the realms of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

This accolade follows CMU's prior success in 2019 with the NSF Catalyst award, a pivotal moment that sparked a profound self-examination within the institution. The Catalyst award paved the way for an in-depth introspection, uncovering the critical impediments obstructing the progress of women faculty in STEM at CMU.

Identified through this introspection were three pivotal areas demanding immediate growth:

  1. Bias Interruption and Allyship Programs: Initiatives designed to interrupt bias and foster increased support from allies.
  2. Transparent Policies and Equitable Procedures: Striving to develop fairer, more transparent protocols across the board.
  3. Enhanced Recruitment Practices and Mentorship Opportunities: Intensified efforts to create inclusive faculty recruitment practices while bolstering mentoring avenues for women faculty.

CMU's 2023 Adaptation award is not merely a grant; it's a catalyst for change. It earmarks resources to fuel progressive modifications aimed at addressing the very barriers unveiled by the earlier Catalyst award.

This transformative project dovetails seamlessly with CMU's recently unveiled strategic plan. Beyond its primary focus on faculty, the NSF ADVANCE program's initiatives promise to ripple through the university, positively impacting the culture and climate for women students and staff alike.

Among the innovative programs slated for the 2023-2024 academic year are:

  • PowerPlay: An interactive workshop leveraging applied theatre techniques to showcase instances of bias, fostering discussions on addressing these issues constructively.
  • Advocates and Allies: Imported from North Dakota State University, this program empowers men with the tools and knowledge to effect positive change at personal, unit, and organizational levels.

Steering the helm of this transformative initiative is the distinguished ADVANCE Adaptation leadership team at CMU, comprising:

  • Tracy Galarowicz: Associate Dean in the College of Science and Engineering
  • Katrina Piatek-Jimenez: Faculty in the Department of Mathematics
  • Kirsten Weber: Faculty in the School of Communication, Journalism, and Media
  • Kimberly O’Brien: Faculty in the Department of Psychology

This formidable team embodies CMU's commitment to fostering a more inclusive environment, representing the vanguard of change.

For further insights into CMU's ADVANCE initiative, visit CMU's ADVANCE website. Brace yourself for a paradigm shift as CMU leads the charge towards a more equitable future in STEM!

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