UC LEAF Program Introduced to Campus
A new NSF ADVANCE Program was announced to the UC community at a launch event on Monday, April 8.
The University of Cincinnati LEAF (Leadership, Empowerment, Advancement for Women STEM, Faculty) is a program committed to furthering a diverse and inclusive university community. The focus of this initiative is that women faculty within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines receive advancement opportunities as well as equity in their work environment.
UC President Santa Ono gave a welcome address at the launch event emphasizing the importance of the UC LEAF program. He stated that STEM fields are usually male dominated, however between 50 and 60 percent of students at UC are females.
“In our UC mission statement, we embrace the concept: ‘if we want to truly be excellent, we must be diverse. If we are not diverse, we are missing out on the talents and perspectives of large groups of people,’” said President Ono.
President Ono believes this program could set a national example for other universities and colleges interested in bringing similar programs to their institutions.
Program Director Melanie T. Cushion spoke about UC LEAF after President Ono’s welcome address. Cushion informed guests that UC is proud to have one of only 32 LEAF programs in the US. She also mentioned goals of the program such as increasing visibility of the program on campus, creating a welcoming environment for potential students and faculty members, and retaining academic talent within STEP disciplines. UC LEAF will be implementing bottom-up programming involving workshops focused toward women, creating learning communities to establish a network of connections, and a peer-to-peer mentoring program.
Top-down programming is another UC LEAF seeks to implement. Keynote speaker Scott E. Page began this initiative with his speech at the launch event. Page’s focus is research on how diversity improves performance and decision making. He spoke about the role of diversity in modern society He discovered that groups made up of intelligent people who have different perspectives, mindsets, and ways of solving problems are more effective at making accurate predictions and solving problems.
The launch event served as a success for UC LEAF and STEM disciplines within McMicken welcome this initiative to embrace and increase diversity at UC.
Upcoming UC LEAF events and other information can be found at their website: http://www.uc.edu/orgs/ucleaf.html