Crystal City, Virginia
April 14, 2019
April 14, 2019
April 22, 2019
Diversity and Special Topic: Identity
Launching Academics on the Tenure-Track: an Intentional Community in Engineering (LATTICE) is a national program to increase the retention and advancement of women academics in engineering and computer science. This NSF ADVANCE funded effort has a focus on community, ongoing connections, and professional development to support women as they navigate the postdoctoral and junior faculty stages. These early career stages are a crucial time of transition, and an important opportunity for retention of women in engineering and computer science. For individuals who are an “only” in terms of their social identity (e.g., gender, race, sexuality, ability status, etc.), the isolation during this transitional period can be particularly acute. Research shows that a strong connection to community can counter this isolation, and that the resulting sense of belonging is important to individual success and persistence in STEM. The LATTICE program is designed to build community and ongoing support while providing professional development. This presentation will introduce the LATTICE program theory and design, then discuss evaluation findings, unexpected challenges, and planned modifications to continue to improve the program. The LATTICE program begins with a four-day symposium that weaves together professional development skill building and conversations about social identity. The symposium activities and resulting community lay the foundation for deeper and ongoing support through the peer Mentoring Circles. Each Mentoring Circle, composed of eight to nine participants, provides a frequent and safe forum to discuss concerns, gain perspective, problem-solve, and set personal goals. The first LATTICE symposium was held May 18-21, 2017 with participants who were early-career women from electrical engineering and computer science. The second LATTICE symposium for women in any field of engineering who are underrepresented minorities will be held May 30-June 2, 2019. Evaluation data shows that the LATTICE symposium is a valuable experience for participants, who benefit both from the information discussed and the relationships they began at the symposium. Further, the Mentoring Circles help build community, while providing needed support and accountability. Within several months of participation, participants perceive that the LATTICE program is having a positive impact on their self-confidence and ability to proactively engage in career-building behaviors, such as asking for resources, seeking advice, and starting collaborations. Participants self-reported statistically significant improvements in both self-efficacy and networking activity.
LATTICE participants came to the first symposium with a wide array of experiences and perceptions of bias. In order to more fully address the intersectional identities of participants while building a cohesive community, programmatic modifications are planned for the second symposium. One modification will be to incorporate the pedagogical tool of caucusing, in which participants suggest the social identities they wished to caucus around (e.g., Black, Spanish-speaking, first-generation). This allows participants (and panelists) an opportunity to gather in affinity groups of self-identified salient identities, serving to enhance and support communication, while building the capacity to understand their own identities and thereby build authentic relationships across identities.
Margherio, C., & Carrigan, C., & Yen, J., & Horner-Devine, M. C., & Riskin, E. A., & Ivy, J., & Grant, C. S. (2019, April), Building Community Through Professional Development: The LATTICE Program Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/31746
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