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Darrion Sprueill
ADVANCE AU Senior Project Manager

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ADVANCE AU Creating Gender and Racial Equity Among STEM Faculty

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers 1937035 (Catalyst) and 1760585 (Adaptation).

ADVANCE Catalyst Project 2020-2022

The ADVANCE Catalyst project (20-22) was an intentional, inclusive and intersectional assessment of university full-time faculty, including the structures, policies and procedures that affect women and underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in STEM fields. NSF’s broad definition of STEM includes physical sciences, life sciences and social and behavioral sciences.

The Catalyst project documented the unique systemic barriers for women and URM STEM faculty at medium-sized, urban, private research universities. The need for this data was highlighted in AU’s Catalyst proposal. As a result, nine focus groups with a combined total of 36 faculty were conducted to fill this important informational void. 

Catalyst results indicated that changes to faculty hiring practices were achieving increased diversity in new faculty, but departures of diverse faculty, particularly URM women, is concerning. This finding is consistent with our original hypothesis that institutions being situated in urban areas may have more problems retaining URM and women faculty rather than recruitment challenges.. 


ADVANCE Adaptation Project 2022-2025

The new ADVANCE project has three distinct aims:

1) Support women STEM faculty members’ research and scholarship;

2) Improve professional and academic environments by clarifying and executing new tenure, promotion, and reappointment guidelines that integrate inclusive and antiracist principles;

3) Increase STEM faculty members’ feelings of belongingness, particularly those that self-identify as women and underrepresented minorities.

It is expected that this project will contribute to higher education institutions’ understanding of gender and racial equity on two faculty career pathways in STEM, as well as antiracist and inclusive practices within the context of promotion and tenure.

Personnel and Participants:

Project Team Leaders: Monica Jackson (PI), Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy (Co-PI), Meg Bentley (Co-PI), Linda Aldoory (Co-PI), Darrion Sprueill (Sr. Project Manager).

Project Team Participants: Abigail Puskar, Karen Froslid-Jones, Robin Beads, Carolyn Parker, Amy Butler, Arthur Stallworth, Amanda Taylor.

Internal Steering Committee: Kiho Kim, Karen Baehler, Toks Fashola, Katie DeCicco-Skinner, Alberto Espinosa, Shari Watkins, Brian McGowan, Steve Silvia, Mieke E. Meurs, Matt Hartings, David A. Haaga, Nathan Harshman, Nathalie Japkowicz.