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Summary A lthough women have made great strides in becoming full mem- bers of the science and engineering (S&E) enterprise, they are still underrepresented among graduate students and postdoctorates and among faculty in science and engineering programs. The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) of the National Acad- emies created the Committee on the Guide to Recruiting and Advancing Women Scientists and Engineers in Academia to produce a guide that would help those who have a stake in seeing more women in science and engineering accomplish that goal. Specifically, the committee was asked to prepare a guide that will identify and discuss best practices in recruit- ment, retention, and promotion for women scientists and engineers in academia. The issues that the guide will address are: (1) recruitment of undergrad- uates and graduate students; (2) ways of reducing attrition in science and engineering degree programs in the early undergraduate years; (3) improving retention rates of women at critical transition points--from undergraduate to graduate student, from graduate student to postdoc, postdoc to first faculty position; (4) recruitment of women for tenure- track positions; (5) increasing the tenure rate for women faculty; and (6) increasing the numbers of women in administrative positions. The committee began by reviewing the literature on higher education programs and policies designed to recruit and retain women S&E stu- dents and faculty. The committee also decided to gather information by 1
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2 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY visiting four universities recognized for successfully advancing and re- taining women students, faculty, or leaders. During these site visits, com- mittee members and staff interviewed students, faculty, and administra- tors to learn more about the latter's careers and experiences in academia. To ensure that the interviewees would speak freely, the committee promised not to reveal their names or the names of the institutions visited. In its literature review and site visits, the committee sought to iden- tify the strategies that some higher education institutions have employed to achieve gender inclusiveness in academic S&E and to use these four case studies as a way to gain a more detailed picture of women's partici- pation in science and engineering (with a particular focus on research universities) with specific approaches that had worked at the visited insti- tutions and could be adapted to others. The committee is able to present a variety of strategies that students, faculty, and administrators at higher education institutions, and outside interests, such as the professional soci- eties, could use to better recruit, retain, and advance women in academic S&E. The committee found that the term "successful strategy" might be used rather than "best practice." Although these institutions had made great strides, they still coped with issues present at all institutions of higher learning and throughout society overall. Additionally, a successful strategy at one institution may not have worked at another, thus "best" was not an appropriate moniker for these strategies. One of the findings that resonated throughout the site visits and through the literature review is that women face multiple challenges-- challenges that may lead to their attrition at key junctures in higher education. Some of the reasons for this attrition have to do with women's ambitions and career preferences; others stem from the demographic characteristics of female S&E students and faculty. Still others result from not enough being done by peers, departments, and institutions to create a climate that is as comfortable for women as it is for men. Fortunately, one of the main findings of the committee's study is that many policies are available to universities for facilitating the recruitment and retention of female students, faculty, and administrators. Some policies are better implemented by the top leadership--presidents, provosts, and deans-- while others can be put in place by department chairs or individual faculty. Policies to Enhance Student Recruitment · Create and institutionalize a pervasive inclusiveness mandate on campus, with buy-in from the highest levels of the administration, and then dedicate resources to that mandate.
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SUMMARY 3 · Extend outreach to potential students at both the K-12 and under- graduate levels. Such outreach might take the form of summer science and engineering camps, lecture series, career days, collaborative research projects, and support for K-12 teachers. · Examine the criteria used to select incoming students to ensure that unnecessary criteria are not filtering out women. Policies to Enhance Student Retention · Dedicate resources for female students, which could include an S&E dormitory or support for a women's S&E society on campus. · Modify curricula and teaching to better engage the interests of female students. · Create mentoring programs for students. Policies to Enhance Faculty Recruitment · Create and institutionalize a pervasive inclusiveness mandate on campus, with buy-in from the highest levels of the administration, and then dedicate resources to that mandate. · Monitor the faculty hiring process to affirm the importance of women and confirm the presence of women in that process. Policies to Advance Female Faculty · Create mentoring programs for female faculty. · Conduct periodic university studies of various issues affecting women, such as tenure process, salary equity, or climate. Policies to Advance Women into Administrative Positions · Create mentoring programs. · Encourage faculty to network and to gain experience in adminis- tration. · Promote peer encouragement of women who are or might be inter- ested in pursuing administrative positions.
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