University One Of Eight Institutions Nationwide To Receive ADVANCE Funding
UC Irvine is one of eight universities nationwide to receive a special National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant designed to increase the hiring and retention of women faculty members in the sciences and engineering.
UCI will receive $3.45 million over the next five years. With this funding, the university will work to increase the recruitment of women for open or new faculty positions in the scientific and technological academic areas where women have been traditionally underrepresented.
In addition, UCI will establish networking and mentoring activities to assist current women faculty in their efforts to gain tenure and fulfill their potential as teachers and researchers. Two endowed professorship positions also will be established for tenured faculty with excellent academic credentials as well as a demonstrated commitment to gender equity.
"Gender inequities continue to affect science departments across the nation," said Susan V. Bryant, dean of the School of Biological Sciences and lead grant administrator. "With this grant, UCI shows a commitment to equity with flexible approaches and innovative solutions to this pressing problem."
According to recent nationwide equity surveys, women hold 29 percent of tenure-track faculty positions in the sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology at U.S. universities. In turn, 36 percent of those who receive doctoral degrees in these fields are women. These surveys also show that women faculty in the sciences and engineering fields earn between 6 to 10 percent less than their male colleagues and are not adequately represented in leadership roles, such as department chairs.
Overall, the percentage of women faculty in science and technology academic units at UCI has fallen below the national average. This has been especially reflected in recent hiring practices. After affirmative action standards were discontinued in the state of California by the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, hiring of women faculty in these fields has dropped by half. Since then, women represented only 18 percent of the faculty hires in these areas.
"UCI appreciates receiving this important grant because it gives us an opportunity to reverse recent hiring trends," Bryant said. "This becomes significantly important, since the university plans to hire an average of 50 new faculty a year this decade during its projected growth phase. The ADVANCE grant gives us the framework to address these serious gender equity issues in a broad, proactive way."
To help accomplish this, UCI also will appoint a senior faculty member as an equity adviser in eight areas (biological sciences, physical sciences, engineering, management, social studies, social ecology, medicine, and information and computer science) who will help develop recruiting strategies and mentoring and awareness training programs. Plus, the university will develop a detailed database to collect information on hiring efforts and other gender equity issues such as pay, retention and promotion at a campuswide level.
The ADVANCE award program is part of a comprehensive effort undertaken by the National Science Foundation to diversify the scientific work force. The intent is that the activities undertaken by these institutions will become models that may be replicated in institutions throughout the nation.
"Intellectual diversity helps give our nation its competitive edge," NSF Director Rita Colwell said. "ADVANCE is an innovative program that promises to challenge assumptions and instigate change in the way we make science and engineering careers welcoming to all. These awards represent a substantial commitment by a diverse set of institutions to alter the way we approach participation in science and engineering careers. I thank these colleges and universities for taking on this challenge, and I look forward to working with them."
Other institutions receiving the grant are New Mexico State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Michigan, University of Washington and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Overall, 76 institutions applied for the grant.
Contact: Tom Vasich
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