Jackson State University will receive $3.5 million over the next five years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help transform the work climate for women faculty in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and the Social and Behavioral Science (SBS) disciplines.
The award will fund a five-year cooperative agreement called JSUAdvance, which aims to advance the careers of tenured and tenure-track STEM and SBS faculty through mentoring, professional development and institutional change.
“Students need to be exposed to a variety of people,” said Loretta Moore, who is the project’s principal investigator and chair of Jackson State’s Department of Computer Science. “The value of diversity helps to better prepare students.”
Although women faculty serve in leadership positions at JSU and other universities, those in the STEM and SBS disciplines are notably less visible in administration levels.
Jackson State University is the only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to ever receive a full award from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program, and is one of seven schools this year to receive the NSF funding. Other awardees include the University of Maryland, Lehigh University, the University of Maine, Syracuse University, West Virginia University and Texas A&M University. Like Jackson State, the other awardees are challenged to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.
“Jackson State submitted a highly competitive proposal,” said Kelly Mack, program director for the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program. “NSF was particularly struck by the level of commitment from senior administration and by the university president.”
Over the next five years, the project at JSU will include such activities as university-wide surveys to measure attitudes about gender, seminars to examine women’s barriers to promotion and international travel opportunities, leadership training and summer writing programs for female faculty. The project also will look at university policies that affect the promotion of women faculty. The project is expected to add an understanding of the issues that impact women faculty in the STEM and SBS disciplines and promote strategies that can be adopted by other HBCUs. It is also expected to foster a culture that seeks the inclusion of faculty regardless of gender, race and other target characteristics.
“At the end of the five years, we really should see a different institution that is more supportive and a better environment for equal opportunity,” Moore said.
For more information, contact Loretta Moore at email@example.com or 601-979-2105.
Photo of Loretta Moore, principal investigator and chair of the Jackson State University Department of Computer Science: