NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant Proposal

Full proposal

ABBREVIATED AWARD ABSTRACT: Washington State University is deeply committed to fostering an environment that promotes diversity. Despite this commitment, challenges remain in achieving gender equity among the faculty and leadership in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM*) disciplines. The premise of the Excellence in Sciences and Engineering (EXCELinSE) at WSU project is that women are lost from the academy at critical transition points: after the PhD; pre-tenure; post-tenure; and at personal milestones (e.g., childbirth). Our project goals are to: (1) increase representation of women in STEM disciplines by providing institutional support at these critical points; (2) develop/disseminate innovative strategies for other research-intensive, rural, land grant universities; and (3) create an infrastructure that provides the highest institutional support, and insures transformation beyond the lifetime of the grant.

Our four major initiatives are: (1) Preparing and Recruiting a Diverse Faculty, designed to encourage new women STEM PhD graduates to consider academic careers; (2) Work/Life Initiative, to address institutional and individual barriers to retention and advancement for all university faculty members; (3) Leadership Training Initiative, which addresses climate and leadership barriers to recruitment, retention and advancement; and (4) Institutionalizing Transformation Initiative, which is aimed at organizing, monitoring and assessing institutional progress, and disseminating best practices to the broader academic community. These initiatives will be implemented through the Center for EXCELinSE at WSU.

Intellectual merit: The research component of this project will provide insights into diffusion of new practices through academic organizations and the impact on departmental cultures and leadership. By identifying the departmental-level factors that enhance or inhibit the institutionalization of initiatives, this research will benefit other institutions seeking transformation. We will both import successful ADVANCE initiatives from other institutions and demonstrate our own innovative initiatives that are unique to our situation (e.g., the Dual Career Partnership with the University of Idaho), that will benefit both WSU and the broader research university community (e.g., the EXCLEinSE Summer Doctoral Fellows Program), that are applicable to research-intensive, rural, land-grant institutions (e.g., Infant Care Placeholder program), or that are applicable to the general academy (e.g., the External Mentoring program).

Broader impacts. Addressing the special challenges associated with women faculty in STEM disciplines at small, rural communities has implications for other similar institutions. For example, the Summer Doctoral Fellows program will benefit not only WSU but other research institutions that hire the fellows after they complete the program. This project will advance our understanding of the impact of preparing future faculty for the professoriate, creating a work/life responsive workplace, and leadership initiatives on attracting, recruiting, and advancing women in academic STEM disciplines. Improving the climate for all faculty will result in the retention and advancement of a diverse faculty which provides more role models for students. This will ultimately lead to increases in students pursuing careers in STEM, thus addressing a national need. Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.

* WSU now recognizes STEMM as including: sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. STEMM is reflected to include MEDICINE through all of ADVANCE at WSU initiatives.

Award Abstract #0810927

NSF Org: Division of Human Resource Development (HRD)

Initial Amendment Date: August 26, 2008

Latest Amendment Date:  August 31, 2014

Award Instrument:  Cooperative Agreement

Program Manager:

Mary Anne Holmes

Start Date:  September 1, 2008

Expires: August 31, 2015

Awarded Amount to Date:  $3,935,781


  • Candis Claiborn claiborn@wsu.edu (Principal Investigator)
  • Robert Bates (Former Principal Investigator)
  • Amy Wharton (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Kshiti Joshi (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Gretalyn Leibnitz (Co-Principal Investigator)


Washington State University
Neill Hall 423
Pullman, WA 99164 509/335-9661


Field Application(s):  0116000 Human Subjects

Program Reference Code(s):  OTHR, 1738, 0000

Program Element Code(s): 1738

ADVANCE at WSU Lighty Building, Room 190F  P.O. Box 641061 Pullman, WA 99164-1061

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