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Catalyzing STEM Gender Equity at Drexel: Building a Foundation for Systemic Transformation

Supported by The National Science Foundation

Project led by:

Kristy Kelly, PhD
Leslie McClure, PhD
Maria Schultheis, PhD
Sharon Walker, PhD

This current proposal is centered on our commitment to ensuring diversity and equity across the career lifespan of faculty in STEM at Drexel University, with a long-term goal to create a pipeline of outstanding, diverse women leaders at Drexel. We therefore propose a mixed-method study designed to 1) understand the policies, procedures, and practices that negatively impact midcareer women’s transition from Associate to Full Professor; 2) identify best-practice strategies developed by other ADVANCE institutions that might be tailored to fit Drexel’s context; and 3) collect the necessary data to serve as the foundation for the development of a comprehensive 5-year STEM Faculty Equity Strategic Plan that is line with the University’s strategic action plan to develop inclusive and diverse leadership. This NSF ADVANCE Catalyst grant will be Phase 1 of a three-phase effort to fully institutionalize a transparent and sustainable professional “roadmap” to Professor that seeks to establish gender parity and better representation of URMs at that rank. A critical outcome of this initial support from NSF ADVANCE Catalyst will be a list of priorities and recommendations that will inform our Phase 2, 5-year STEM faculty equity strategic plan. The final and third phase of this multi-year effort is to fully institutionalize these practices through ongoing assessment and educational programming, as well as to weave the women and underrepresented faculty who will be at the rank of full professor into the fabric of campus leadership.

Where possible in this two year time frame, we are committed to the thorough analysis of our outcomes and the dissemination of our findings through scholarly outlets (conference presentations, journal articles, and other relevant venues) and the higher education industry press, as well as through lay-presentations (e.g., popular media outlets, blogs). In doing so, we are laying the foundation for others to implement the changes we anticipate happening on Drexel’s campus. Ultimately, through this combination of activities described herein, over the three phases of our plan we will transform STEM leadership and shift the balance of power at Drexel to be more inclusive.