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SIUE Receives NSF ADVANCE IT-Catalyst Award

A $190,555 award to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help recruitment, retention and promotion initiatives for women faculty in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

"The persistent under-representation of women faculty in universities' in those disciplines is well-documented by the NSF and the National Academies," said Associate Professor Denise Cobb from the SIUE Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies and principal investigator. "Although there have been increases in the number of women receiving doctorates in STEM disciplines, women remain under-represented in many of these disciplines, particularly at the more senior ranks."

As the recipient of a 2010 National Science Foundation ADVANCE IT-Catalyst award, SIUE is formalizing a two-year planning grant project titled "Laying the Groundwork: Status of Women Faculty at an Institution in Transition." The award will help the team collect data and begin projects that can facilitate long-term institutional change efforts.

Institutions of higher education receive NSF ADVANCE IT-Catalyst awards to strengthen their commitments to gender equity and diversity in STEM disciplines by providing a foundation for improving the recruitment, representation, and advancement of women, including under-represented minority women.

"The team is excited to have the opportunity to build on the momentum already established by the University and looks forward to working with the campus community-including faculty members, department chairs and administrators-to achieve these important goals," Cobb said.

SIUE's ADVANCE team, led by Cobb, takes an analytical approach to examining the challenges women faculty face, including an under-representation of minority women, within STEM. Cobb is joined by co-investigators Lynn Maurer, Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of SIUE's Graduate School; Leah O'Brien, Distinguished Research Professor of Chemistry; Sue Wiediger, Associate Professor of Chemistry; Danice Brown, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Christa Johnson, Associate Dean for Research at SIUE's Graduate School.

The team's long-term goals include:

  • Increasing the percentage of women faculty members at each rank within STEM disciplines and the social and behavioral sciences;
  • Creating institutionalized networking opportunities for women faculty to facilitate their success;
  • Developing a central resource center for chairs and program directors;
  • Contributing to an improved overall climate.

More information about SIUE's ADVANCE IT-Catalyst initiatives is at

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