Exploring Diversity and Gender Equity (EDGE) at UH Hilo

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The Exploring Diversity and Gender Equity (EDGE) project at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo is a first phase of efforts at the campus to articulate a plan of bold action to construct a more vibrant intellectual, social, and physical campus environment in which to nurture and educate a community of lifelong learners.

EDGE at UH Hilo is funded by National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program under award #1209223. Donald Straney, UH Hilo chancellor, is the principal investigator and Misaki Takabayashi, chair and associate professor of marine science, is the co-principal investigator. Terrilani Chong is project administrator.

The project, situated at UH Hilo, a post-secondary institution in the mid-Pacific region, will bring the existing work of the NSF ADVANCE program into a broader population of faculty and their students. UH Hilo faculty have the opportunity of educating and inspiring emerging leaders of our nation from a wide array of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Findings from this project will benefit the entire university community, in all departments.

Both male and female members of faculty will benefit from the Campus Climate Survey and focus group activities conducted during this project. The survey is open to faculty and/or staff of UH Hilo. Chancellor Straney and Associate Professor Takabayashi look forward to sharing the methods and results of the survey with other comprehensive and/or predominantly undergraduate institutions throughout the United States and its affiliated territories, especially those throughout the Pacific region.

Through this project, UH Hilo intends to foster and facilitate a dialogue among faculty and administrators, and specific initiatives to advance a gender-inclusive climate. The project’s mission aligns with that of NSF-ADVANCE Program to increase representation and advancement of female faculty in STEM, such that by 2016, 40% of UH Hilo faculty are women (representing a 12% increase from current), with 35% at the rank of associate professor (a 9% increase) and 30% at full professor ranking (a 10% increase). An additional objective concerns females in senior academic leadership positions: by 2016, we aim for our academic leaders to be comprised of at least 25% females (Deans, Directors, and/or Department Chairs/Division Leaders).

There is a great deal of literature about methods of improving recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in faculty positions within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines at research-intensive post-secondary institutions and their effectiveness, and about how women differ from male counterparts in their approach to success in academe. This project will examine those methods and their effectiveness at our comprehensive institution that is in a current state of self-generated growth and transformation. In addition to its status as a comprehensive university in a state of institutional transformation, UH Hilo is one of the most geographically isolated university campuses in the United States. Issues such as but not limited to gender, ethnic background, international education, and lifestyle choices will be examined to determine whether the faculty here face different challenges and/or whether differing solutions to the challenges faced by their colleagues at research-intensive institutions are found here. Findings from this IT Catalyst project will add to the existing and rich body of knowledge concerning life balance, gender equity, and other associated issues that face female faculty in STEM disciplines.

This project, situated at a post-secondary institution in the mid-Pacific region, will bring the existing work of the NSF ADVANCE program into a broader population of faculty and their students. UH Hilo faculty have the opportunity of educating and inspiring emerging leaders of our nation from a wide array of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Findings from this project will benefit the entire university community, in all departments. Both male and female members of faculty will benefit from the climate survey and focus group activities conducted during this project. Straney and Takabayashi look forward to sharing their methods and results with other comprehensive and/or predominantly undergraduate institutions throughout the United States and its affiliated territories, especially those throughout the Pacific region.

For further information, contact Project Administrator Terrilani Chong.

About National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE Program

From NSF’s ADVANCE Program page:

The goal of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators. As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF’s multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in academic science and engineering.

 

Since 2001, the NSF has invested over $130M to support ADVANCE projects at more than one-hundred institutions of higher education and STEM-related not-for-profit organizations in forty-one states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, including twenty-four EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Visit the ADVANCE Portal

ADVANCE projects around the nation have created a robust, informative web-portal where interested parties can explore the many initiatives supported by projects across the country. This site has links for a variety of useful tools, resources, event announcements, and more.

Additionally, the ADVANCE program works in collaboration with American Women in Science. Please visit the American Women in Science ADVANCE web site to find out more about this important collaboration.