RIT Receives Grant to Study Recruitment, Retention and Advancement of Female Faculty in ‘STEM’ Programs

Research to assess faculty development in science, technology, engineering and math




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Rochester Institute of Technology was selected as one of 11 schools to receive a prestigious Institutional Transformation Catalyst grant through the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program. The catalyst grant for $200,000 was awarded for the proposal “Establishing the Foundation for Future Organizational Reform and Transformation @ RIT.” The proposal was developed by a cross functional team of faculty and staff who have embarked on a two-year study across five RIT colleges.

IT-Catalyst grants support institutional self-assessment activities focused on the recruitment, retention and promotion of female faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics departments, commonly called STEM disciplines within higher education.

“The goal of the research is to identify barriers for our current women STEM faculty in regards to rank, tenure and leadership role progression,” says Margaret Bailey, Kate Gleason Chair and associate professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering and EFFORT@RIT principal investigator.

The team has started to analyze historical data available from Human Resources, Faculty Recruitment and Institutional Research and Policy Studies, departments at RIT specific to hiring, tenure, promotion and retention. The project team will be developing a climate study based on this data that will be launched fall of 2009.

EFFORT @ RIT is a means to assess the best practices and developmental needs of faculty within the STEM programs to ensure a diverse workforce, encourage leadership opportunities within the profession and provide role models to young women who also look to take their place within STEM fields.

“In academia, institutions receiving ADVANCE grants have been recognized as those at the forefront of institutional change in the area of gender inclusiveness and equity within faculty ranks,” Bailey says.