ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award: Virginia Tech

  • Mcnamee, Mark M.G. (PI)
  • Schmittmann, Beate B. (CoPI)
  • Smith-jackson, Tonya T.L. (CoPI)
  • Thole, Karen Ann (CoPI)
  • Hyer, Patricia P. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The goal of this project is to contribute to the development of a national science and engineering academic workforce that includes the full participation of women at all levels of faculty and academic leadership, particularly at the senior academic ranks, through the transformation of institutional practices, policies, climate, and culture.

Virginia Tech proposes a comprehensive program to promote and enhance the careers of women in science and engineering. The project has four major program elements that address institutional barriers that have constrained the advancement of women faculty members in the sciences and engineering (S&E) and target institutional culture, practices, and leadership development needs specific to Virginia Tech. Project Activities include retreats and workgroups for faculty and academic leaders, qualitative assessment of the experience of women faculty in S&E, and review of policies and programs; half-time placements of faculty in leadership roles, research grants, faculty development, a named lecture series, and a flexible work/life fund; intensive work with search committees; programs to prepare the future professoriate and expanded dissertation year/postdoctoral fellowship program. Patricia Hyer, associate provost for academic affairs, will coordinate this project; Nancy Love, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Karen Thole, associate professor of mechanical engineering, will serve as co-PIs. The university will provide a full-time project director and administrative assistant to this project, ensuring its continuance beyond the period of the grant.

New academic leadership, restructured colleges, and commitment to an aggressive strategic plan currently position Virginia Tech for a successful transformation. The Virginia Tech ADVANCE initiative will focus on the colleges of engineering and science with the goal of creating an environment that welcomes women and individuals of color and nurtures their success as part of the colleges' own definition of excellence. The proposed strategies draw from an extensive literature on gender equity in science and engineering and organizational change, and experiences of the five-year project will contribute to the understanding of change management on behalf of women in higher education.

Effective start/end date9/1/038/31/10


  • National Science Foundation: $3,757,778.00


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