Wednesday, May 11, 2011

NSF ADVANCE

The NSF ADVANCE program funds a wide variety of initiatives at institutions to increase the representation of women in STEM. I have heard of and even participated in a number of ADVANCE programs: FORWARD to Professorship career development workshops at Gallaudet University, Rice University, and University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series at University of Arizona, the STRIDE faculty recruitment toolkit from University of Michigan, Horizontal Mentoring (a.k.a. peer mentoring), and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

These ADVANCE initiatives can be terrific resources for both women looking for advice and resources, and for institutions and department looking for ways to improve diversity. In the past, I've found that it can sometimes be difficult to find specific resources because each ADVANCE awardee has its own programs, some aspects of which are duplicated elsewhere, but other aspects which are unique to that institution. There are some real gems of ideas in there if you have the patience to look through them.

Recently, I discovered that the ADVANCE program now has a web portal! It's now one-stop shopping for looking for ADVANCE websites relevant to your topic of interest. If you look at the initiatives link, you find a categorized list of the kinds of initiatives the various ADVANCE programs around the country have.

One thing that stuck out to me, though, was that since most of the ADVANCE awardee sites are universities, they tend to focus on either faculty or students. One of the biggest leaks in the pipeline is the jump from postdoc to the tenure track, so there's something to be desired there. Still, if you look you can find resources for postdocs also. And now that there's this portal, it's less work to find them!

-by Hannah Jang-Condell