The NSF ADVANCE Program
Diversity is not the objective. It is a means to facilitate our achieving the critical objective: innovation. ∼ The National Science Foundation
“The goal of the ADVANCE program is to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce.”
The ADVANCE Rising Tide Center
UMaine’s Rising Tide effort includes four key goals:
- Increase the percentage of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) fields at UMaine throughout the academic pipeline;
- Provide support for effective policies, programs, and professional development opportunities aimed at the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty;
- Decrease isolation and facilitate recruitment, retention, and advancement of these women faculty by creating a positive work environment, pursuing diversity and partner relocation assistance, lowering barriers to success, and improving connections within and outside of Maine;
- Engage the University of Maine System and the system-wide faculty union with programs, policies, and professional development activities to further ADVANCE goals in the state.
The ADVANCE Rising Tide Center supports strategic initiatives at UMaine and across the University of Maine System that will embed transformation in a focused, sustainable institutional regime to create “a rising tide that will lift all boats.”
With a $3.2 million, five-year NSF ADVANCE grant, UMaine has established the ADVANCE Rising Tide Center, which in collaboration with our partners will implement faculty support initiatives to achieve its goals:
- Implement and sustain professional development programs aimed at STEM-SBS women including grants, climate activities, mentoring programs, and networking programs;
- Facilitate recruitment, retention, and advancement goals through policies, procedures, and structures including problem resolution, policy advocacy, partner career opportunities, and diversity recruitment;
- Initiate rigorous equity training for deans, chairs, search committees, peer committees, mentors, and departments;
- Identify male advocates and provide support to these faculty as they further ADVANCE goals with efforts to highlight implicit biases and develop strategies for overcoming these biases.
Women in STEM and SBS at the University of Maine
Prior to initiation of the ADVANCE project at the University of Maine, tenure track women comprised 10% of faculty members in engineering, the physical sciences, mathematics and computer science, compared with 16% nationally, and 23% of the social and behavioral sciences compared with 39% nationally. The numbers in biology (30%) compared favorably with national statistics (30%). Source: NSF (2008)
Read more below about the need for diversifying the faculty at UMaine, and the methods deployed to support the recruitment, retention and advancement of women faculty across the UM System.