ELATE womens leadership program receives research grant

A new initiative at Drexel University has an ambitious goal: to advance senior women faculty in the fields of engineering and technology in academic institutions across the United States. Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this new initiative, the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering program (ELATE at Drexel™), will be able to test just how well this goal is being reached.

“As a longtime leader in technology and engineering education, Drexel recognizes the rewards that these fields will reap when more women faculty hold senior academic positions,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “We are pleased that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation also sees the importance of this effort, and grateful that the Foundation will support ELATE at Drexel in helping women prepare for leadership opportunities.”

ELATE at Drexel, a program of the International Center for Executive Leadership in Academics, is a one-year, part-time program that addresses the need to increase the diversity and leadership capacity of engineering, computer science and related fields within academe. Although women receive 20 percent of Ph.D.’s awarded in the United States, they account for only five percent of full professor positions and only 11 percent (41 of 379) go on to become engineering department heads (data from NSF and ASEE).

The grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will support the design of key evaluation systems to assess outcomes and impact of this exciting new program. The main outcome of the grant will be a survey designed to assess any changes in self-perception of skill, confidence, organizational climate and changes in leadership roles for the women that participate in the fellowship.

A method for tracking and evaluating the impact of a key component of the ELATE curriculum – Institutional Action Projects (IAP’s) – also will be a part of the newly created evaluation tools. Fellows going through the program are tasked with creating an IAP that focuses on leadership development, advancement and institutional change. Through the help of this grant, ELATE will be able to assess just how much impact each project has on the Fellow, the institution in which it is completed and beyond.

Dr. Elizabeth S. Boylan, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation said, “The ELATE program at Drexel is remarkable, not just for its focus on sustaining the advancement of women faculty into senior leadership roles, but also for the care it takes to document and analyze what types of support are most effective, and to share that analysis with the academic community. Those assessment and dissemination practices have the potential to shape the design and improve the impact of faculty development programs at colleges and universities all across the nation. We are pleased to be able to support such evidence-based best practices.”

The research tools are set to be complete and ready to be utilized with the first ELATE fellowship year, starting in August of 2012.

For more information on ELATE at Drexel, visit  www.drexel.edu/engineering/ELATE, or email ELATE@Drexel.edu or call 215-991-8240.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then president and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance. For more information, visit www.sloan.org