ADVANCE Partnership: Joining Forces - Project Overview

people at table in hands stacked in team supportNSF ADVANCE has been instrumental in supporting institutional practices leading to the increased representation of women in STEM. However, research suggests institutional culture and practices have not evolved to create a collaborative and supportive work environment where women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers can thrive, particularly those in the intersectionalities of women of color and women with caregiving responsibilities. To address this issue, a midwestern partnership of four research-intensive institutions, three of which have received previous ADVANCE funding, has been created. This project is funded by NSF ADVANCE Partnership Award 1935960.

  • Two women scientists in lab

    The Cross-Institutional Women’s Caucus is intended to foster conversations and sharing of best practices focused on issues pertaining to STEM faculty diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Cross-Institutional Women’s Caucus will host a virtual series of shared events featuring documentary film screenings, prominent speakers, and panel discussions highlighting the bias and inequities faced by women faculty in STEM, especially women of color and women with significant family caregiving responsibilities, together with practices and policies that have proven effective in addressing bias and inequity. Through these shared events, we hope to create strong cross-institutional support networks that will effectively promote positive systemic change, leading to more diverse, equitable and inclusive climates on our campuses.  

  • IES logo

    The Integrated Equity Support (IES) package can improve department climate, culture, and outcomes. The IES addresses these elements through a systemic expansion of material and professional support at the faculty, department, and university levels targeted at removing barriers and biases that disadvantage URWM and WFC, and concurrently increasing the workplace satisfaction, professional resources, and personal confidence of these faculty. The IES integrated solution can support gender equity initiatives in unique ways, including the proposed models of cross-institutional mentoring communities and department chair training. Furthermore, CI-A&A programs engage organizational elements not traditionally involved in gender equity, thereby expanding an institution’s capacity to effect organizational change.

  • Lori Wingate and Ann Burnett

    Project evaluation activities for the ADVANCE Midwest Partnership have three foci: 1. Evaluation of the content and implementation quality of each of the  intervention components (CIMC, A&A, and DCPD, IES Caucus); 2. Evaluation of the added benefit due to adding components of the Integrated Equity Support package for each partner location (MTU, NDSU, ISU); 3. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the IES package as a whole at the WMU test site. The evaluation team will consist of Brandi Geisinger (ISU), Ann Burnett (NDSU), Chris Woijick (MTU), and Lori Wingate (WMU).


  • Carla Koretsky, Patty Sotirin and Gul Okudan Kremer

    Department Chair Professional Development focuses on professional development for department chairs. This program is a critical program given the significance of perceptions of lack of chair support in decisions to leave by under-represented women faculty and women faculty of color. The program emphasizes educating chairs on the complexities of  issues such as caregiving penalties, tokenism, implicit biases, and microbehaviors as well as strategies for enhancing departmental climate via proactive policies and obtaining and examining regular feedback on managerial practices. It is intended to inspire chairs as change agents within their own departments, across their own campuses, and at times across multiple universities. 


  • Rger Green and Raj Raman

    Advocates & Allies enlists male faculty in on-the-ground forms of support for equity for women faculty and women with familial responsibilities and under-represented women faculty in particular, changing the locus of responsibility from lone actors to networks that listen, learn, and act in response to identified issues. Both the CIMC and A&A programs create proactive processes for recognizing how local conditions—such as regional factors--impact lived experiences and for championing initiatives toward more innovative campus policies, practices, and resources around relations of race/ethnicity and caregiving support.  


  • Adrienne Minerick (MTU) leads the CIMC initiative

    Cross-Institutional Mentoring Communities (CIMC) are designed to create networks of mentoring as a robust support and feedback mechanism for assistant and associate faculty that emphasizes problem-solving for career obstacles as well as enhancing a sense of belonging. Thus, the program is intended to reduce the isolation, exclusion, and silencing of WFC and URWM faculty particularly regarding caregiving issues and tokenism. The CIMC are also designed to facilitate inter-institutional exchanges and reflexive learning among committee members about similarities and differences in climate and opportunities on different campuses, thus seeding fresh ideas.This will instill a culture of listening, awareness, and responsiveness to the concerns of women faculty that supports advocacy for change.