University of California Irvine Shows Progress in Adding Women to Its Faculty

The University of California at Irvine recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its ADVANCE program, which seeks to increase the number of women faculty members and women studying for careers in STEM fields. The program is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation.

A decade ago, Sue Bryant, who at that time was vice chancellor for research at the university, saw that the last 17 hires in the biological sciences at the university were all men. Bryant explains how she set the plan in motion:

“We went out and got this grant. My goal was to put something in place at the local level in every unit. If it’s centralized in administration, it doesn’t work; you have to have a grand plan. So we set up a system of faculty equity advisers in each school who would look at all the requests for faculty appointments and make sure they were written generically enough to include women. Every search committee had to be mixed; it couldn’t just be men. And the equity advisers would counsel search committee chairs on equity issues.”

The program has made progress. From 2001 to 2011 the percentage of women on the university’s faculty increased from 24.1 percent to 30.6 percent. The percentage of women among new hires during the decade increased from 33 percent to 41 percent.

Filed Under: FacultySTEM Fields


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