NSF awards $3.3 million grant to Cornell to bolster the percentage of women faculty members

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Cornell University a $3.3 million grant to boost significantly over the next five years the percentage of women faculty members in the university's science and engineering departments. The grant begins on Nov. 1, 2006.

Cornell is committed to diversity, gender equality and promoting an environment in which all faculty can achieve their potential in research, education and service. The representation of women faculty in the university's science and engineering departments falls too far below the level of female doctorates produced nationally, according to Cornell administrators.

To correct the current imbalance, Cornell has set ambitious goals: To reach a level of 20 percent women faculty in each science and engineering department over the next five years. At present about half or 27 of 51 of those departments fall below this percentage.

"We have an important opportunity to increase the number of women faculty in science and engineering," said Cornell Provost Carolyn "Biddy" Martin, who will serve as the principal investigator for the grant. "We want a critical mass of women in each department. Our more ambitious, longer-term objective is to have one-third of our science and engineering faculty be women by the year 2015, Cornell's sesquicentennial," Martin said.

Martin will work with the following co-principal investigators at Cornell to implement this grant: Robert Harris, vice provost for diversity and faculty development; Shelley Correll, associate professor of sociology; Sheila Hemami, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Marjolein van der Meulen, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

The grant comes from the National Science Foundation's ADVANCE program, which assists research universities in transforming the work environment for women faculty. The program arose from a 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study that examin

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
Cornell University News Service

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