The National Science Foundation has awarded Shippensburg University, in cooperation with three other organizations, a grant to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of women academics in STEM disciplines.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The $749,506 grant is for the PA STEM University Partnership for the Advancement of Academic Women (PA STEMUP) program. Partnering with Shippensburg are Elizabethtown College, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) and the Innovation Transfer Network (ITN).

The program is under the direction of the leadership team of Dr. Kate G. McGivney, professor of mathematics; Dr. Alice Armstrong, assistant professor of computer science; and Dr. Robin McCann, associate professor of chemistry, all at Shippensburg University, Dr. Bilita Mattes and Dr. Christina Dryden of Harrisburg University; Dr. Heather E. Kanenberg of Elizabethtown; and Jill Edwards of the Innovation Transfer Network. Two advisory groups with members from around the nation will also work with the group on the project.

According to McGivney, principal investigator for the project, “We’re very excited to partner with local universities to research issues important to women in the STEM fields. We look forward to using the findings to develop a professional network for female STEM faculty in the region and to inform campus policies about the recruitment and retention of high quality female faculty members.

“Women play an important role in science both as students and as faculty members. This project will allow us to discover the issues related to women faculty in the STEM fields and to determine ways to encourage more women to participate. Ultimately, this project will help benefit our nation as more women become active participants in science.”

The four-year project has three main goals:

  • To assess the climate among Central Pennsylvania higher education institutions for the support of gender equity and diversity among faculty in STEM disciplines and to use those results to inform campus-specific policies and practices and regional programs that support the advancement of women STEM faculty
  • To leverage the existing ITN network to develop a professional network for women/women-minority STEM faculty in the Central Pennsylvania region and through that network to adapt, build upon, and develop programs and services that promote increased representation and advancement of the region’s academic women in STEM.
  • To develop a web-based resource in support of a sustainable climate of gender equity and diversity for STEM faculty including an opt-in social media component to promote virtual networking among women academics in STEM especially for professional support and research collaboration.