Asee peer logo

Isu Advance – Transformation Across The University Hierarchy To Enhance Recruitment, Retention And Advancement Of Women Faculty In Engineering

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

ADVANCE Grants and Institutional Transformation

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.817.1 - 15.817.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kristen Constant Iowa State University

visit author page

Kristen Constant is an Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. She serves as the College of Engineering Equity Advisor with the NSF-funded ISU-ADVANCE program.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

ISU ADVANCE – Transformation Across the University Hierarchy to Enhance Recruitment, Retention and Advancement of Women Faculty in Engineering

Abstract ISU is in the 4th year of a 5-year NSF funded ADVANCE grant. In accordance with the intent of NSF’s “Institutional Transformation” grants, the focus of this work is not on the individual professional development of women, but instead, on changing the academic environment in which they work. The goal of the ISU ADVANCE research program is to investigate the effectiveness of a multilevel collaborative effort to effect institutional transformation that results in the full participation of women faculty in STEM fields in the university. Our approach focuses on transforming departmental cultures (views, attitudes, norms and shared beliefs), practices (what people say and do), and structures (physical and social arrangements), as well as university policies, through participation of individuals at all levels of the university. There are several embedded change agents (faculty and administrators) that work within the existing culture at the departmental (ADVANCE Professors), college (Equity Advisors) and university (ADVANCE PIs and Provost Fellow) levels. These individuals work together to identify and combat the sources of systemic gender bias while distributing the responsibility for progress (thereby increasing ownership) among constituents and stakeholders. In addition to collaborative transformation work in ‘focal departments’, other efforts include educating targeted groups such as department chairs and search committees, but also providing learning opportunities for all faculty. Dissemination of results and training has taken various forms including workshops, web-based resources, formal presentations, informal discussions and even ‘Readers Theater’ presentations.

Introduction Iowa State University of Science and Technology is a land grant institution with strength in science and engineering. The university, with about 27,000 students and 1,700 faculty, has 8 colleges, the second largest of which is the college of engineering with a faculty of 190 and student enrollment of over 6,000. Iowa State’s faculty is 28% women in tenured or tenure eligible positions, but the College of Engineering (COE) has only 10.6% women faculty.1 Additionally, the attrition rate for ISU women faculty in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is significantly higher for women as compared to men (especially in the first three years).2 Despite the fact that thesenumbers are less favorable than national averages, ISU has demonstrated a strong commitment toward improvement of diversity of the faculty and has invested significantly in various campus climate surveys and other studies to better understand faculty satisfaction and the factors that differentially impact women and minorities.3 Indeed, the demonstration of an environment conducive to change was one of the factors influencing the National Science Foundation’s decision to award ISU the ADVANCE grant in late 2006.

Constant, K. (2010, June), Isu Advance – Transformation Across The University Hierarchy To Enhance Recruitment, Retention And Advancement Of Women Faculty In Engineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16598

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015