By Jean Gordon Cook
JSU President Carolyn Meyers
(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers was honored during the university’s JSUAdvance Project Reception and Women’s History Month Celebration on Tuesday, March 29, in the JSU School of Engineering building atrium. The event celebrated women’s history month and JSU’s new National Science Foundation-funded project called JSUAdvance. The $3.5 million, five-year project is designed to advance the careers of women faculty in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the Social and Behavioral Science (SBS) disciplines and transform the institutional climate of Jackson State University.
“For us to be the first HBCU to get this type of award is a spectacular feat,” Meyers said at the reception.
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, said Loretta Moore, who is the project’s principal investigator and chair of Jackson State’s Department of Computer Science.
“Students need to be exposed to a variety of people,” Moore said. “The value of diversity helps to better prepare students.”
Jackson State University is the only Historically Black College or University to ever receive a full award from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program, and is one of seven schools selected in 2010 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.
Meyers is the first woman selected to be president of Jackson State University. She has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, serving most recently as president of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemical Engineering.
For more information, contact Loretta Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-979-2105.
– JSU –
About Jackson State University: Bridge to a Brighter Tomorrow
Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit http://www.jsums.edu.