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Impact of an NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant at a STEM-Dominant University

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.797.1 - 22.797.11



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Paper Authors


Peggy Layne Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Peggy Layne, P.E., joined Virginia Tech in 2003 as director of the AdvanceVT program, a National Science Foundation sponsored program to increase the number and success of women faculty in science and engineering. Prior to accepting her current position, Ms. Layne worked as a diversity consultant for the American Association of Engineering Societies and as director of the program on diversity in the engineering workforce at the National Academy of Engineering. She also spent a year as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the office of Senator Bob Graham, where she was responsible for water, wastewater, and solid and hazardous waste policy issues.

Ms. Layne has degrees in environmental and water resources engineering from Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. She spent 17 years as a consulting engineer with several firms, and was formerly a principal at Harding Lawson Associates in Tallahassee, FL, where she managed the office and directed hazardous waste site investigation and cleanup projects. Ms. Layne is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a registered professional engineer. She served as president of the Society of Women Engineers in 1996-97 and is FY11 Chair of SWE’s Government Relations and Public Policy Committee.

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Molly R. Hall Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Molly R. Hall is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Research and Evaluation program at Virginia Tech. She received her M.S. from Miami University and her B.A. from Indiana University.

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Impact of an NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant at a STEM-Dominant UniversityThe National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program solicitation states that “The goal of theADVANCE program is to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation andadvancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineeringworkforce.” Forty-six universities have received ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grantsto date. These institutions have taken a variety of approaches to transformation, from a focus onhiring more women to preparing women for leadership roles, educating department heads, andrevising university policies. (Stewart et al., 2007) As grant funding for the early awards expires,these institutions are evaluating the impact of the programs and prioritizing activities forcontinuation.One STEM-Dominant university has used its ADVANCE funding to take a comprehensiveapproach to institutional transformation, incorporating activities to increase the pipeline ofwomen preparing for academic science and engineering careers, improve recruitment andretention of women, develop women leaders, update work-life policies, and warm departmentclimate. As the program has evolved, activities have been modified in response to feedbackfrom participants, changes in leadership, and lessons learned from other ADVANCE institutions.Prior to the conclusion of the grant, the university reviewed all activities for impact. Some havenow been “institutionalized” into day-to-day operations, while others have been discontinued andstill others have expanded to address broader definitions of diversity.Assessment activities included tracking numbers of women at various levels across theuniversity, individual activity evaluations, campus-wide faculty surveys, tracking of policyutilization, interviews, and focus groups. Such a mixed-methods approach combines quantitativeand qualitative indicators of change and provides deeper insight into the impact of interventionson the experiences of women faculty. This paper uses feedback on the impact of ADVANCEprogram activities from focus groups of female engineering professors and quantitative data fromfaculty surveys to explore perceptions of climate and work-life balance in the college ofengineering.

Layne, P., & Hall, M. R. (2011, June), Impact of an NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant at a STEM-Dominant University Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18078

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