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Team Led by President Ono Wins $3.7 Million NSF Grant


With the help of an NSF grant, UC will work to become a national model for the recruitment, retention and advancement of women faculty in the STEM disciplines.

Date: 9/14/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Katie Pence
Phone: (513) 558-4561

UC ingot   A $3,749,336  grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Program will bolster the University of Cincinnati’s efforts to increase the participation and advancement of women faculty, including women of color, in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. The principal investigator for the grant is Interim President Santa J. Ono.  His co-principal investigators include Melanie T. Cushion (Program Director) of the College of Medicine, Rachel Kallen and Stacie-Furst Holloway (Associate Program Directors) of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, Steve Howe, also of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Urmila Ghia of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The five-year grant, titled Leadership, Empowerment and Advancement of Women Stem Faculty (LEAF), will make UC a model institution for women STEM scientists.

“The STEM disciplines are absolutely essential to the economic development of our region and nation. Already, one-third of our STEM faculty at UC are over the age of 60,” said President Ono. “If we want to remain competitive in a global economy, we must do a better job of recruiting and retaining women into these fields, and UC is ready and willing to do its part, with the help of the National Science Foundation.”

LEAF will work to transform the culture of the university’s STEM departments to promote equity and professional success for women scientists. Its initiatives include: 

  • Enhancement of the pipeline for women faculty in STEM fields by broadening recruitment, improving hiring, increasing retention and promoting advancement.
  • Transforming the climate for STEM faculty by creating social and collaborative mentoring networks to promote intellectual progress, equity and an inclusive culture.
  • Creating interdependence by enabling sustainable dynamic institutional practice and policy through the establishment of an Accountability and Advocacy Council, which will assess progress and success as strategies are implemented.
  • Conducting research on social networks and discourse regarding STEM.
  • Addressing the unique needs of UC’s STEM faculty who are women of color.
Plans for programming include a series of professional development workshops for women in STEM fields at different career stages, learning communities for informal and formal mentoring of female STEM scientists, and seed grants to support research, professional development and collaboration.

In addition, there will be programming targeted to deans, department heads and search committee members to provide training in best practices for hiring, promotion and tenure, as well as mentoring and coaching of administrators to facilitate accountability, transparency and inclusiveness. 

Resulting policies and procedures are expected to transform UC as a go-to institution for women STEM faculty and enhance the research, teaching and community missions of the University for all faculty.