In 2015, RIT created the Advocates & Allies program through funding from the National Science Foundation Grant No.1500604 titled, "Engaging Male Colleagues in Institutional Transformation for the Advancement of Women Faculty." The Advocates & Allies project at RIT is based on an innovative approach designed by North Dakota State University to involve faculty men intentionally in the transformation of departmental cultures and practices. Our method, based on the NDSU approach, is specifically designed for academic settings to support men faculty, in consultation with women faculty, in gender-equity efforts and includes two essential components:
1) Recognize the implicit and explicit intersectional manifestations of gendered discrimination and
2) Effectively and systematically generate individual behaviors and institutional policies that interrupt inequities and foster gender justice.
The mission of the Advocates and Allies program is:
Introduce men to knowledge, skills, and strategies to effect positive personal, departmental, and institutional change
Emphasize men working with other men while maintaining accountability to women
Build a supportive network of men allies who are committed to gender equity
Tips for Being an Ally
Here are suggested actions that one can take to be an ally for women faculty:
- Tell women (and men) faculty that you are an ally
- Ask women faculty about their experience with departmental climate, and listen to their answer
- Ensure women faculty members have equal opportunity to speak during meetings
- Ensure women faculty are invited to informal departmental gatherings
- Talk to women faculty about their research
- Nominate qualified women for awards, honors, and positions
- Volunteer to serve on promotion, tenure, faculty search, and other committees with specific purpose of being an ally for gender equity
Tips for Being an Advocate
Faculty men with a strong commitment and record of supporting women faculty in their department, colleges, and the university
Active and effective proponents of gender diversity and equity
Committed to increasing their understanding of gender bias and its impact on the academic careers of women.
Expected to have an awareness of the dynamics of institutional and structural bias and privilege and be interested in learning about issues of discrimination and privilege in the workplace.
A group that meets regularly (monthly) and works toward specific goals and outcomes, discusses recommended readings and case studies and is involved in the development and delivery of training programs for male faculty who are interested in becoming Allies.
Advocates & Allies
Nearly 100 RIT faculty men have attended Ally training and taken action, primarily within their own department. Common actions taken include:
- Speaking up at meetings regarding gender diversity and equity
- Act as an active bystander to support an inclusive, civil work environment
- Invite women colleagues to collaborate on research
- Nominate women colleagues for awards
- Serve on a committee as a gender equity proponent in place of their women colleagues to reduce the inequity of service loads
Advocates are faculty men who support faculty women by working towards improving gender diversity and equity. These advocates have a strong commitment to supporting women faculty in their department, colleges, and the university. They are aware of institutional dynamics and structural bias while showing an interest in learning about issues of discrimination and privilege in the workplace. The advocates are active and effective proponents of gender diversity and equity.
College of Engineering Technology
- Rob Garrick Department of Manufacturing and Mechancial Engineering Technology
College of Liberal Arts
College of Science
Golisano College of Computing and Information Science
Kate Gleason College of Engineering
Saunders College of Business
- Clyde Hull Department of Management
Gender Diversity: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty
Best practices in working with transgender students and colleagues
Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing, AAUW, 2015.
“Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing focuses on the underrepresentation of women in engineering and computing and provides practical ideas for educators and employers seeking to foster gender diversity. From new ways of conceptualizing the fields for beginning students to good management practices, the report recommends large and small actions that can add up to real change.” (p.ix)
Overview of Advocates & Allies Includes:
- Recognizing Male Privilege
- Individual Actions for Allies
- References and Recommended Reading
Advocates & Allies Poster
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1500604. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Advocates & Allies - In the News!
Advocates & Allies PI Team
- Betsy Dell (original PI and co-PI on primary award) Department of Manufacturing and Mechancial Engineering Technology, College of Engineering Technology
- Carol Marchetti School of Mathematical Sciences, College of Science
- Marcos Esterman Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Margaret Bailey, PE (current PI and co-PI on primary award) Department of Mechancial Engineering, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Sharon Mason School of Information & Technologies, Golisano College of Computing & Information Sciences
Advocates & Allies Advisory Board
- Elena Sommers Department of English, College of Liberal Arts
- Laura Shackelford Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Women & Gender Studies
- Lea Michel School of Chemistry and Materials Science, College of Science
- Rob Garrick (past Lead Advocate) Department of Manufacturing and Mechancial Engineering Technology, College of Engineering Technology
- Silvia Benso Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts
- Taj Smith Office of Diversity & Inclusion