ADVANCE awards first department enhancement grants

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On February 6, 2024

Four proposals were selected for funding through S&T’s ADVANCE Program’s Department Enhancement Grant initiative. These grants help departments implement strategies to reduce inequities and enhance the departmental climate, especially in the recruitment, retention and advancement of women. 

The awards range in value from $8,500 to $20,000 and the projects, which last one or two years, began in January.  

A second round of grants will be available for departments in the fall. 

The awards are: 

Materials Science and Engineering: The SMART service approach: Redefining faculty contributions while enhancing documentation and assessments of service 

This project addresses the problem that faculty service loads are not always equitably distributed or accurately recognized in faculty evaluations, and that female faculty often carry a heavier service load than their male counterparts, especially if they are from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Researchers will focus on researching optimal ways to capture and convey faculty service efforts, and develop a guide for tracking and assessing faculty service in a specific, measurable, accessible, realistic, and timely (SMART) manner. This guide could become useful for faculty in departments across campus.   

Materials science and engineering faculty researchers include: 

  • Dr. Laura Bartlett, Robert V. Wolf Professor in Metallurgical Engineering  
  • Dr. Anthony Convertine, Roberta and G. Robert Couch Assistant Professor  
  • Dr. Arezoo Emdadi, assistant professor 
  • Dr. Charmayne Lonergan, assistant professor 
  • Dr. Michael Moats, chair and professor 
  • Dr. Sharon Uwanyuze, assistant teaching professor  
  • Dr. Kelley Wilkerson, associate teaching professor.   

Chemistry: Inclusive culture towards faculty success 

This project aims to help cultivate a sustainable inclusive culture within the department, especially for women and early career faculty. Participants will host a workshop presented by the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists focused on five areas identified as needing improvement in the department’s 2023 equity profile. 

Chemistry faculty researchers include: 

  • Dr. Lia Sotiriou-Leventis, chair and professor 
  • Dr. Risheng Wang, associate professor 
  • Dr. Shelley Minteer, director of the Kummer Institute Center for Resource Sustainability and professor.   

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: Building resources for diversifying applicant pools 

This project addresses the historic scarcity of female applicants for faculty positions in the department, making it difficult to diversify the faculty. Participants in this project will develop a database of female faculty in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 100 top U.S. universities to increase frequency of communications with these colleagues regarding hiring opportunities and to develop relationships with them that could be mutually beneficial. 

Mechanical and aerospace engineering faculty researchers include: 

  • Dr. David Bayless, chair and professor 
  • Dr. Nishant Kumar, teaching professor 
  • Dr. Frank Liou, Michael and Joyce Bytner Product Innovation and Creativity Professor 
  • Dr. Hank Pernicka, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor 
  • Dr. Dan Stutts, associate professor.   

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering: Reviewing and revising department policies and practices to promote equity and build community culture 

This project will enhance department culture by establishing a leadership team that will serve as the department’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee. The committee will review departmental policies and procedures and initiate changes that will improve equity and inclusiveness. This project will also have a second focus on improving annual evaluation practices, with the support of Dr. Clair Kueny in psychological sciences.   

Civil, architectural, and environmental engineering faculty researchers include: 

  • Dr. Joel Burken, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and Mathes Endowed Chair 
  • Dr. William Gillis, associate teaching professor  
  • Dr. Jenny Liu, James A. Heidman Professor 
  • Dr. Bill Schonberg, professor. 


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On February 6, 2024. Posted in Accomplishments