June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Women in Engineering
12.1487.1 - 12.1487.18
The Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Program at the University of Southern California: Achievements and Challenges of the First Five Years
The establishment of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Program represents the serious commitment of the University of Southern California to address the under-representation of women in science and engineering. Since the launch of the program in 2000, WiSE has helped to more than double the number of tenured and tenure-track women faculty at USC from 15 to 35, through its recruitment and retention programs. Its complimentary programs to support undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars through a range of financial awards and activities have also grown in scope and impact. This paper describes the programs developed and administered by WiSE, the perceived successes to date, the challenges that remain, and the future directions of the program to ensure continued progress toward gender equity in science and engineering at USC. Through an analysis of the WiSE Program at USC, we hope to present a model from which others can draw on to tackle the same issues at their own institutions.
In 2000, the University of Southern California (USC) launched its Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Program. Funded by a $20 million gift to the endowment, the goal of the program is to increase the number of tenured and tenure-track women faculty in science and engineering (S&E). Spearheaded by an energetic group of tenured faculty, the programs and activities of the WiSE program have been designed to address a broad range of issues that affect the representation of women in S&E.
Operating from the Office of the Provost, WiSE works with deans and departments in the USC College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering to recruit outstanding women scientists and engineers to the university and to retain those who might be tempted to move elsewhere. In the 5 years since the program’s inception, WiSE resources have helped the schools to more than double the number of tenured and tenure-track (T/TT) women faculty in S&E fields from 15 to 35.
In addition to its primary goal of faculty gender diversity, WiSE has developed a series of programs to address pathway (pipeline) and institutional climate issues that remain obstacles to attracting and retaining women in the fields of S&E. While WiSE programs provide targeted financial support to scholars at all stages of their careers, the resources are heavily focused on support of doctoral students, with the intent to prepare the next generation of S&E faculty.
Though similar initiatives to increase the representation of women in S&E are in place at academic institutions across the country, largely funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program, USC’s WiSE program is unique because of its permanent endowment and its comprehensive program design. In its recent issue focused on campus diversity, the
Hawkes, N., & Morrison, J., & Raghavendra, C. (2007, June), The Women In Science And Engineering (Wise) Program At The University Of Southern California: Achievements And Challenges Of The First Five Years Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2122
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