MSU receives partnership grant to support women in STEM

August 8, 2023 - Edwin Serrano

Michigan State University has been awarded a partnership grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program that will work to build equitable and inclusive work cultures for women in STEM by focusing on both women from racial minority groups and gender expansive/nonbinary faculty who are at higher risk of leaving academic STEM departments.

The five-year, $1.2 million research project, “STEM Intersectional Equity in Departments (SIEDS): A Partnership for Inclusive Work Cultures,” will be led by MSU’s Center for Gender in Global Context, or GenCen, and conducted in partnership with Wayne State University and The Ohio State University.

ADVANCE is an initiative of the National Science Foundation that promotes a diverse and capable science and engineering workforce within higher education. It provides funding that supports equity and inclusion of women in STEM and mitigates the systemic factors that create inequities in academic workplaces. Using an intersectional lens, the project will develop strategies to transform hostile and inequitable workplaces into those that are inclusive and use a holistic approach to assess faculty productivity, equalize work loads and support diversity in leadership development.

“Michigan State University is thrilled to partner with Wayne State University and The Ohio State University to continue to advance equity for women in STEM,” said Teresa K.Woodruff, Ph.D., interim president of MSU. “As a principal investigator on this project, I am passionate about the work we are doing, and I believe in the importance of continuing to shape a more diverse science and engineering workforce.”

The project centers on creating and implementing guidelines that will help attract, retain and advance women in STEM. Its focus is on work that contributes to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice within STEM disciplines; providing support across the faculty lifecycle with equitable workload allocation; leadership development to create more active and engaged supporters for women and racial minority groups in STEM. Project findings will be compiled into a toolkit that can be implemented at research universities across the Great Lakes region — and eventually across the U.S. and beyond.

“Research demonstrates that women of color experience different barriers depending upon whether they are from the U.S. or countries around the world,” said Stephanie Nawyn, associate professor of sociology and the project’s co-principal investigator. “In this project we capitalize on MSU’s global expertise to address gender disparities in STEM disciplines that intersect with race, ethnicity and nationality.”

Additional MSU faculty working as co-principal investigators on the project include Laura Bix, assistant dean of teaching, learning and academic analytics in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Angela Hall, associate professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations and faculty excellence advocate in the College of Social Science.

This is the second NSF ADVANCE grant MSU has received. Between 2008 and 2014, MSU administered a $4 million NSF grant that funded the “ADVANCE: Advancing Diversity Through Alignment of Policies and Practices” project to reduce institutional barriers and increase the diversity of women in STEM.