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The next stage of the project is to use these data to identify policies and practices that can be implemented at BSU to not just increase the participation and advancement of women in STEM, but tp also improve the workplace environment for both full and part time faculty. All of the faculty who are part of the BSU ADVANCE research team will be ADVANCE Fellows in the Provost office for AY 16-17 and will apply for an ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant to institute these best policies and practices. The team submitted a preliminary proposal in April 2017, and should hear about any invitation by June, 2017.

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program supports projects designed to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and Engineering Careers. In 2012, a team from BSU was awarded a two year, $194,000 IT-Start grant (HRD – 1409348) to support data collection and analysis to investigate the importance of workplace flexibility for women in STEM at a teaching-intensive university. NSF’s definition of STEM includes the natural as well as the social sciences. Thankfully, while this grant supports data collection from STEM faculty, all changes and recommendations arising from this work can impact the entire campus. With research we can advocate for change and transform the institution.

Bridgewater State University is a regional, Master’s level (M1) state university located in Southeastern Massachusetts with over 11,000 students and more than 350 full time and 450 part time faculty. Full time faculty teach 4 courses (12 credits) per semester. The Massachusetts State College Association union represents all full and part time faculty and librarians.

There are three overarching questions guiding the team’s investigations:

  1. How do opportunities for workplace flexibility impact women in STEM at teaching intensive universities
  2. How can a teaching institution provide increased workplace flexibility to full-time faculty members, especially during particular times of need (e.g., family leave, pre-tenure status, etc.)?
  3. What role does workplace flexibility play in the career paths of part-time faculty, and how can the institution support faculty who work part-time?

Data were collected using surveys and interviews, and findings can be found  under Our Research Questions and Methods. The project has an internal advisory board made up of stakeholders from across campus (deans, human resources, faculty development leaders, union representation, faculty, etc.) and has an external evaluator as well.

BSU ADVANCE Research team

Current Team Members
Former Team Members

National Science Foundation logo     We are grateful that this work has been supported by National Science Foundation grant HRD-1409438