A five-year, $3.3 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant will fund a new University of Maine initiative to improve institutional conditions disproportionately affecting female faculty in the sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics and the social-behavioral sciences.
The grant will establish the Rising Tide Center, which will support the initiative at UMaine and in the University of Maine System. The goal of the center is to increase the number of female faculty members in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and social-behavioral sciences by defining the practices that attract and support the retention of female faculty, facilitate promotion through the academic ranks and to administrative positions, and provide professional satisfaction.
UMaine has a combined 114 female faculty members teaching in STEM and social-behavioral fields, compared with 284 male faculty members in those areas. UMaine is below the national average in a number of STEM and social-behavioral fields.
“From Edith Patch to Doris Twitchell Allen to the women who help lead our faculty today, UMaine has a proud history upon which we can build to become a model institution for supporting female faculty members across the university,” says Susan Hunter, UMaine’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. She also is a biology professor who will serve as principal investigator on the project. “This initiative will promote opportunity, enhance diversity and provide more of the role models who will help show our female students the pathways to success in STEM and social-behavioral science fields.”
Four other faculty members co-authored the ADVANCE grant: Amy Fried, associate professor of political science; Susan Gardner, associate professor of higher education; Karen Horton, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology; and Jody Jellison, professor of molecular plant pathology and director of the School of Biology and Ecology.
The goal of NSF’s ADVANCE program is to encourage the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse and sustainable U.S. science and engineering workforce.