At the heart of our proposed UC Davis ADVANCE program is CAMPOS - The Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science. CAMPOS is a research center that will attract women and Latina STEM scholars to our campus by providing an accessible and inclusive community of research collaborators and mentors throughout their careers.CAMPOS will catalyze the diversification of our STEM faculty by making UC Davis a sought-after destination for women seeking a supportive research community, and will allow us to rapidly build a critical mass of Latina and other under-represented women STEM scholars.This novel approach, focusing on successful research programs of individuals, represents a next, important step in the evolutionary transformation and diversification of STEM faculties.
Our emphasis on spurring research productivity and collaboration is built upon several well-established patterns and principles:
First, the best predictor of academic success and advancement in STEM disciplines at major research universities is a vibrant and well-funded research program. CAMPOS will link clusters of new hires with more senior collaborators and mentors to counter the feelings of isolation that these individuals are likely to experience within their largely homogeneous home departments. For Latina and other minority women, research approaches are often tied to cultural experience and identity; these multicultural perspectives on STEM tend to go unappreciated and interpreted as a detriment, rather than an asset, in STEM departments.
Second, a research center environment can facilitate greater networking and mentoring opportunities, with potential for increased research productivity. The presence of a successful and productive research center such as CAMPOS, in which otherwise marginalized faculty are valued as successful research contributors, can begin to drive the permanent transformation of academic climates within STEM disciplines and departments toward greater diversity, inclusiveness and community.
Third, although STEM research breakthroughs increasingly require collaboration across teams of investigators from multiple disciplines, female STEM faculty members consistently report feelings of greater isolation and reduced opportunity for collaboration than do their male colleagues; women of color in STEM disciplines experience a double-bind of perceived difference and isolation of an even greater magnitude than their White colleagues.
The National Science Foundation began supporting ADVANCE
initiatives in 2001, and has awarded over $130M in funding for a
variety of programs. The most significant efforts seek to create
permanent institutional transformation.
Professional disciplinary groups allow members to meet, engage,
and share knowledge. This effort is particularly important to
foster supportive, collaborative networks among scientists from
We have compiled multiple publicly available databases of the
published research related to NSF ADVANCE program efforts to
increase diversity in STEM education and the STEM labor force.
These include the literature on implicit bias, mentorship and
Balance is real challenge facing many faculty, particularly women
with children. The perception (and reality) of the inflexibility
and rigor of an academic career is one cause for the lack of
diversity in STEM disciplines.