The ISU ADVANCE Program uses a comprehensive approach to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Our program works at all levels of the university, using “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches. Our most intensive work, the Collaborative Transformation Project, emphasizes the “bottom-up” approach, working with all faculty (women and men) in selected focal STEM departments to ascertain their experiences and to work with them to improve departmental climate. At the college and university levels (“top-down” approach), we are sharing the lessons learned from focal STEM departments and developing initiatives that benefit faculty in all departments.
At the departmental level (“bottom-up” approach), the ISU ADVANCE Program has enhanced the awareness of the role that departmental climate can have on recruitment, retention and advancement of faculty. Departments have responded to these assessments by, for example: (1) changing the time of departmental meetings and gatherings to accommodate child care and school schedules; (2) increasing transparency in the assignment of teaching responsibilities; and (3) changing governance documents to clarify protocols for advancement to full professor. At the college and university levels (“top-down” approach), the ISU ADVANCE Program has sponsored workshops and discussions to inform the faculty of ways that culture, practices, and structures can enhance and/or hinder recruitment, retention, and advancement, including events that address: unintentional bias, the findings from our ISU faculty satisfaction survey, ways to increase faculty flexibility, and ways faculty search committees can increase diversity in candidate pools and avoid unintentional bias during the interview and selection processes. And our work has met with success. Since the ISU ADVANCE Program began in 2006, the proportion of new faculty hires in STEM disciplines who are women has increased.