Research has shown that adverse educational and workplace climate, specifically in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, is a barrier to attracting and retaining diverse populations in those fields. Perspectives on the climate in STEM fields and tools to improve the climate for women and underrepresented minorities are listed here.
What is meant by the “climate” of educational and workplace settings?
Climate: The atmosphere or ambience of an organization as perceived by its members. An organization’s climate is reflected in its structures, policies, and practices; the demographics of its membership; the attitudes and values of its members and leaders; and the quality of personal interactions.
— UW-Madison Committee on Women in the University, Work Group on Climate.
Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute University of Wisconsin-Madison2009
Using short summaries of existing research illustrating common situations women face in male-dominated environments (e.g., being a “token”, isolation, stereotype threat), this brochure suggests ten concrete steps administrators can take to alleviate these problems.
TIP #1: Learn about outstanding women on your campus
TIP #2: Learn from local experts about gender issues
Nadya A. Fouad, Romila Singh, Mary E. Fitzpatrick, Jane P. LiuUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeOctober 2012
Women who leave engineering jobs after obtaining the necessary degree are significantly more likely to leave the field because of an uncomfortable work climate than because of family reasons, according to the Project on Women Engineers’ Retention, an NSF-funded study completed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). The study is systematic investigation of the engineering field’s retention of women and the results are based on data collected through an online survey of more than 3,700 women with degrees from 230 universities.
“The mark of a successful departmental climate for women is one in which the enthusiasm and ambition of the women undergraduates is transformed smoothly into successful and ambitious women graduate students, with dynamic, forging-ahead female postdocs, energetic junior women faculty, and productive, happy, senior women faculty who all serve as positive role models.”
Linda H. Pololi MD, Janet T. Civian EdD, Robert T. Brennan EdD, Andrea L. Dottolo PhD, Edward Krupat PhDJournal of General Internal Medicine, February 2013, 28(2):201-207
A new article published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports the results of a study of key aspects of the culture of academic medicine. The study sought to identify differences in the perceptions of the culture by male and female faculty.Results from a survey of 4,578 full-time faculty at 26 nationally representative US medical colleges (response rate 52 %) showed that faculty men and women are equally engaged in their work and share similar leadership aspirations, but that women are significantly less likely than men to experience a positive work environme
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 under-represented groups.
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 other topics.
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.