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Women in science, engineering: U-M makes ADVANCE permanent

A University of Michigan project to bridge the gender gap in science and engineering has been so successful that officials have decided to make it permanent with funding commitments approved through at least 2011.

The number of women hired annually for science and engineering faculty positions has increased three-fold since the National Science Foundation first supported U-M's ADVANCE program as a five-year project in 2001, aimed at improving recruitment and retention of women faculty in science and engineering. The University's commitment to extend the program of "institutional transformation" guarantees the effort will be at least a 10-year mission.

In the years before ADVANCE, just 14 percent of tenure-track hires in science and engineering went to women. Now that number is 34 percent.

"We were all inspired," a National Science Foundation site evaluation team concluded after reviewing U-M's ADVANCE efforts and dubbing Michigan a national leader. "There is enthusiasm among most of those we talked to, and belief that real change has transpired and can be sustained. We commend the University of Michigan for the resources, energy, commitment and imagination it has already dedicated to this transformation."

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and interim Provost Edward Gramlich announced that a number of the functions and activities developed through the NSF-supported ADVANCE will be integrated into an ongoing institutional structure when the NSF funding ends in December 2006.

"Michigan was the first large American university to admit women in 1869 and ADVANCE continues to blaze new paths toward a more diverse university," Coleman said. "Its mission will continue to focus on using social scientific theories and evidence about both organizational and individual processes to improve our institutional capacity to recruit, retain and advance women scientists and engineers."

The new structure for U-M ADVANCE is designed "to prov
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Contact: Joe Serwach
jserwach@umich.edu
734-647-1844
University of Michigan
14-Dec-2005


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