UNH ADVANCE Hosts Panel Discussion

UNH ADVANCE Hosts Panel Discussion

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

facutl yand staff at UNH Advance meetingThe first meeting of the UNH ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program, held April 30, drew a large crowd and praise from panelists outside of the university.  

The National Science Foundation project focuses on strengthening policies and practices to address gender imbalance, particularly in STEM disciplines.

Keynote speaker Patrice McDermott from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, impressed by the turnout, said she has high expectations for what will be accomplished at UNH through the ADVANCE IT program.  

The kickoff event was built around the discussion “Mobilizing UNH ADVANCE IT,” moderated by Christine Shea, vice provost for Faculty Development and Inclusive Excellence, with panelists Jessica Bolker, associate professor of zoology,Karen Graham, UNH ADVANCE’s executive director; Samuel Mukasa, dean, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Charles Zercher, chair, department of chemistry; Wayne Jones, professor, materials science and engineering, University of Michigan; and McDermott.

In October 2012, UNH received a $3.4 million ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant from the National Science Foundation to strengthen policies and implement practices to address gender imbalance, primarily in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

John Aber, UNH provost, is the principal investigator on the grant. The four co-principal investigators are Julie E. Williams, senior vice provost of Engagement and Academic Outreach, Graham, who is also professor of mathematics, Mukasa, and Shea, who is also professor of technology and operations management at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. 

“I was very pleased to see such a large turnout and such engaged participation for this kickoff event. This is a wonderful beginning for this very important program,” said Aber. “The ADVANCE IT program provides resources to support a number of initiatives to advance women in STEM that will also enhance inclusive excellence and reduce bias across the entire campus.  It is a data-driven program that uses information derived on campus, from faculty and staff, to define and enact specific programs to achieve defined goals.  It will be transformative for UNH.”

Added Graham, "Today's event represents the start of the conversation and was designed to build awareness of the program goals among the broader UNH community. We will be building on the experiences of successful ADVANCE institutions such as those represented by our guest speakers, Dr. Patrice McDermott from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Dr. Wayne Jones from the University of Michigan. We have set a high bar but I believe UNH is well-poised to be successful in this area."

Professor Karen Graham

   Karen Graham, executive director of UNH ADVANCE.

The 2012 ADVANCE grant builds on a $1.3 million ADVANCE PAID grant that UNH received in 2008 as part of a national effort to transform institutions of higher education in areas where women are traditionally underrepresented. The earlier grant resulted in the significant strengthening of the UNH Faculty Mentoring and Professional Development Program and a partnership program between tenure-track and research faculty to enhance each partner’s ability to balance teaching and research.  

The 2008 ADVANCE PAID grant project also included in-depth analysis of faculty climate and historical institutional data that pointed to the need for further work to strengthen the voice of women and other underrepresented minorities, especially at the department level, and increase their representation in disciplines and at ranks where they are vastly outnumbered by men.

Williams applauded the turnout and the work done by faculty to make the event such a success.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t thank many faculty who have made this award possible, in particular, associate professors Ruth Varner and Diane Foster, who lead the professional development program and helped write the proposal that resulted in this $3.5 million award from NSF.  I am also very appreciative to the many faculty and staff too numerous to name who have been working for years to transform the University—so that we are both excellent and inclusive,” Williams said.