2019-2022 ADAPTATION Grant

Leveling the Playing Field: Strategic Equity Initiatives at Murray State University 

Murray State University (MSU) is a regional comprehensive and primarily undergraduate public university in rural western Kentucky. MSU serves a region that has been historically underserved in STEM education. It has been a challenge to recruit and retain female faculty and students in STEM at MSU. With the receipt of our recent Catalyst award, increasing the participation and advancement of female faculty has become an increasing priority at MSU. We are at a critical moment of leadership change, with a new university President and a new Dean in the Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology. Based on the work conducted by the ADVANCE team during our Catalyst award, the University is poised to make significant enhancements to the status of women at the institution. We propose adapting programs from several institutions -- University of New Hampshire (UNH), University of Washington (UW), and Jacksonville State University (JSU) - in a three-pronged approach to addressing identified areas of challenge. MSU LEARN will adapt UNH's interactive theatre program with a view to reducing implicit bias on search, tenure and promotion committees. MSU GROW will address retention and leadership development by adapting JSU's writing retreats and UW's faculty workshops and continuing Murray State's peer mentoring circles. MSU LIVE will address work/life balance by creating a President's Work-Life Task Force, educating the MSU community about existing policies, and creating/revising policies regarding workplace flexibility and spousal accommodation. These activities will improve the campus climate and generate stronger institutional commitment to gender equity in the future. The long-term goal for this Adaptation project is to move MSU toward significant and enduring institutional transformation. 

ADVANCE Evaluation Report for 2020 (PDF)

ADVANCE Evaluation Report for 2021 (PDF)

ADVANCE Evaluation Report for 2022 (PDF)

ADVANCE Climate Survey Analysis 2022 (PDF)

2016-2020 CATALYST Grant

Differences and Deficits Affecting Women STEM Faculty: Creating a Framework for Change at a Rural Public University

Murray State University provides a unique opportunity to examine how structural and cultural differences associated with a historically rural agrarian area may impact the recruitment, retention and promotion of women faculty in STEM and SBES disciplines. It has been a challenge to recruit and retain women faculty and students in STEM at Murray State. We hypothesize that deficit and difference factors manifest differently at a rural public institution. We will conduct a survey of all faculty and interviews of selected women faculty members, review existing institutional data and policies, conduct site-visits to other ADVANCE institutions, invite external speakers to campus to inform and educate the administration and faculty, and conduct mentoring circles to support our junior STEM and SBES women faculty. PIs: McCarthy, Cobb, Fuller, Waddill, Wu, Zhang.

The final report for our Catalyst award is available here. We appreciate the support of NSF for this project. We accomplished a great deal in our first three years of NSF support and are excited about leveraging our accomplishments into our Adaptation award. 

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