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Lehigh earns NSF ADVANCE Grant

Following the completion of a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE-Institutional Transformation (IT) program aimed at increasing the ranks of women in academic science and engineering careers, Lehigh University has received a second ADVANCE grant.

Lehigh will partner with Georgetown University, Bucknell University, Lafayette College and the United States Military Academy on the project, titled “Patriot League Institutions Mentor Associate Professors WISEly (MAPWISEly).” The $704,657 ADVANCE PLAN IHE (Partnerships for Learning and Adaptation Networks across Institutions of Higher Education) award will be shared among the five institutions.

Pat Farrell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will serve as the lead principal investigator (PI) for the grant. Vince Munley, deputy provost for faculty affairs, and Kristen Jellison, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty director of Lehigh’s ADVANCE grant, will serve as co-PIs.

“We are excited about this NSF ADVANCE PLAN IHE grant because it is an opportunity for Patriot League institutions to learn from each other about ways to support leadership development for women STEM faculty,” says Farrell. “At Lehigh, we learned quite a bit in the work of our ADVANCE IT grant and we are eager to share some of the things we have learned and see how they might be modified to work at other institutions. It is particularly encouraging to see the high level of interest in collaboration on academic topics like this, from a group that traditionally competes vigorously in athletics.”

Lehigh’s first ADVANCE grant, “Building Community Beyond Academic Departments,” was awarded in 2010 and focused on harnessing the strengths of interdisciplinarity to enhance recruitment, retention, and the advancement of women faculty in STEM fields at Lehigh. This project evaluated Lehigh’s climate and policies, conducted social science research and made recommendations for best practices to transform the university through improved recruitment, retention, career satisfaction and leadership development of early- to mid-career women faculty in STEM.

The goal of the MAPWISEly project is to examine if emerging best practices for mentoring new women associate professors in STEM fields positively impact measures of career satisfaction and serve as indicators of advancement across a diverse network of Patriot League institutions. Partnering institutions will learn how to wisely invest in future associate professor career development and will focus on ways in which they might level the playing field for women faculty in STEM.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

-Kelly Hochbein is a communications associate in the Lehigh Office of Communications and Public Affairs

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