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Measuring the Impact of NSF ADVANCE Programming at the University of Delaware

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Robin Andreasen University of Delaware

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Robin O. Andreasen (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science. She earned her PhD in philosophy and specializes in philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and in science and policy. A race and gender scholar, Dr. Andreasen is research director and co-PI for UD’s ADVANCE-IT grant.

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Heather Walling Doty University of Delaware

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Heather Doty is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware (UD). Dr. Doty teaches undergraduate courses in thermodynamics, statics, and dynamics, and conducts research on gender in the academic STEM workforce. She is co-PI on UD's NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant, which aims to recruit, retain, and advance women STEM faculty at UD. Dr. Doty is faculty advisor to UD's Women in Engineering Graduate Student steering committee and a past co-chair of UD's Women's Caucus.

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L. Pamela Cook University of Delaware

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Pam Cook is Unidel Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Associate Dean of Engineering for Faculty at the University of Delaware (UD). Her research interest is in applied mathematics modeling and simulation, particularly of complex, viscoelastic, fluids. She is PI on the University of Delaware NSF ADVANCE IT grant to improve the representation and leadership opportunities of women among the STEM faculty at UD.

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The University of Delaware (UD) currently holds an NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant (NSF HRD 1409472, 2014-2019) that aims to recruit, retain, and advance to leadership women faculty and women faculty of color, especially in STEM and in other fields where women are underrepresented. UD previously held a smaller NSF ADVANCE PAID grant (0819993) from 2008-2013 that targeted the College of Engineering and the natural sciences portfolio of the College of Arts and Sciences. This smaller grant aimed to recruit, retain and improve the climate for women STEM faculty in participating departments.

How does one measure the impact of programs that are geared toward increasing faculty diversity and improving climate? In the long term, faculty representation data may indicate progress toward increased diversity. Faculty surveys and interviews can characterize aspects of institutional climate. But institutional change occurs slowly, and measurable progress may take years. In the meantime, project leaders look for other, shorter-term indications of progress.

In this paper we describe how we measure short- and mid-term impact of UD ADVANCE initiatives. We measure the impact of these programs in traditional ways – e.g., tracking number of attendees and examining hiring and retention patterns. We discuss additional evidence of impact in the form of unintended positive outcomes and sustainable programmatic offshoots. One example focuses on the indirect, but measurable, impact of faculty recruitment workshops developed under our earlier PAID grant. From our current IT grant, we provide examples of some unintended positive outcomes and offshoots of our informal mentoring and networking efforts in the College of Engineering. We connect our discussion of indirect impact measures with a discussion of the importance of institutionalizing programs like ADVANCE beyond the grant-funded years.

Andreasen, R., & Doty, H. W., & Cook, L. P. (2017, June), Measuring the Impact of NSF ADVANCE Programming at the University of Delaware Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28658

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