NSF grant to attract women, minority engineering and science professors to FIU

FIU has been awarded a $3.2 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant aimed at developing strategies to increase the number of women and minority professors in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences at the university.

FIU physicist Angie Laird reviews brain scans with students from her Neuroinformatics and Brain Connectivity Lab

Under the umbrella of FIU ADVANCE, the university will address this goal as part of a multipronged approach to increase the university’s rate of hiring women and minority professors in engineering and sciences. Through FIU ADVANCE, the university will put programs in place to:

  • Attract, recruit, retain and promote more women engineering and science faculty
  • Educate faculty about biases that may affect the advancement of women
  • Promote gender equity using the Deep Change Program, an evidence-based organizational culture change methodology
  • Develop the Advance Florida Network, a joint steering committee and seminar series for women engineering and science faculty and postdoctoral fellows comprised of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities

“We recognize the need for a more diverse faculty. This is an issue nationwide and this grant allows us to scale our efforts at FIU. It’s especially important here because our student body is very diverse. We hope that our ability to attract more women and minority faculty, particularly in the fields of engineering and science, will build a pipeline of more women and minorities studying engineering and science, closing the diversity gap in a multitude of industries,” said the principal investigator of the grant, Kenneth G. Furton, Provost & Executive Vice President at FIU.

FIU ADVANCE will break ground by increasing the understanding of how diversity, culture and gender affect the dynamics of engineering and science faculty. With this knowledge, the team behind FIU ADVANCE seeks to improve recruitment and internal processes to better support women and minority faculty success a part of a larger strategy to further FIU’s position as a leading American urban public research university.

“It’s simple: A diversity of perspectives enriches the sciences, mathematics and engineering, and it makes these professionals more responsive to global needs. At a time when engineering and science are increasingly important to our economy and competitiveness, we need a diverse pool of science and engineering faculty — including women and minorities — to fuel our future,” said Suzanna Rose, associate provost of the Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity at FIU who is a co-project leader on the FIU ADVANCE initiative together with Yesim Darici, director of the FIU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.

FIU graduates more Hispanics with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and math than any other university in the continental U.S., according to a 2015 Excelencia in Education report. Of the more than 10,000 undergraduates currently enrolled in FIU’s STEM departments, 42 percent are women and 32 percent are minority women.