Climate Surveys

In February 2012 AdvanceOSU will be conducting surveys of the working environment for faculty in OSU STEM departments. The goal is to achieve a clearer sense of the factors which contribute, or diminish, job satisfaction. The project is funded by NSF and fully supported by the OSU administration. We appreciate the cooperation of faculty in this endeavor and will notify them when the results are published. In addition to the STEM faculty survey another similar survey is being sent to all graduate students at OSU.


Family Friendly Policies Adopted by NSF

Sept 26, 2011, the National Science Foundation is putting into effect new policies to better accomodate the family demands of researchers. As summarized in an Inside HigherED article the policies will:

  • Allow postponement for one year of grants because of childbirth or adoption.
  • Allow grant suspension for parental leave.
  • Provide supplementary funds to cover the cost of hiring research technicians to maintain laboratories when grant recipients are on family leave.
  • Permit those serving on peer review panels to meet with their colleagues virtually, rather than in person, to reduce child-care needs created by travel.
  • Fund more research on the effectiveness of policies that are designed to keep women in the science pipeline.

According to the White House announcement of these new policies several independent organizations and academic associations are also taking initiatives, adding momentum to a nationwide shift that promises to strengthen the US economy and job security even as it strengthens families across the country. Among them:

  • The White House Council on Women and Girls and Office of Science and Technology Policy are launching a “Women in STEM Speakers Bureau.” Designed to spark the interest of girls in grades 6-12 through engagement with women-scientist role models at the top of their fields, the Speakers Bureau will deploy top Administration female STEM specialists to roundtables with students across the country.
  • The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity will announce an expansion of its signature initiative, the STEM Equity Pipeline, to provide professional development training for high-school and community college faculty and staff in STEM fields.
  • The Association for Women in Science is launching a new initiative that brings together representatives from government, industry, and academia with the goal of improving STEM workplaces to promote gender equality and retention, re-entry, and re-training for women.
  • The National Girls Collaborative Project will announce the FabFems Project to promote career development for young female STEM students through an online networking platform that will include female educators and professionals in STEM fields.
  • The American Association of University Women will announce the expansion of successful regional programs aimed at engaging girls in STEM subjects to a national level.
  • The Association of American Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities will commit to looking for ways that the many institutions they represent can do more to develop, support, and promote more flexible work and learning environments for those in STEM and other disciplines.


NSF grant to boost women and minority representation at OSU

(January 30, 2009 Stillwater, OK) - Oklahoma State University has received a $499,372, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to bolster its existing campus-wide initiative to promote the representation of women and minorities in the STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - as well as agriculture.

OSU seeks to achieve these aims by providing support for female faculty at all levels, and through research, workshops, and training seminars to broaden the participation of women in science.

"With this grant, OSU will evaluate and implement programs to increase the recruitment and advancement of women in science," said Dr. Jean Van Delinder, Associate Professor of Sociology and core faculty in Gender and Women's Studies. She is the principal investigator for the three-year grant.

"The programs are designed to replace impediments to women's progress in science with a climate that provides greater support and that facilitates advancement at all levels," she said. "These include mentoring and providing greater opportunities for networking and visibility."

The award is an NSF ADVANCE-PAID grant. The goal of the NSF ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. PAID stands for Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation, and Dissemination.

Joining Van Delinder as principal investigators are Dr. Robert V. Miller, Professor and Head, Microbiology; Dr. James Wicksted, Professor and Head, Physics; and Dr. John Veenstra, Professor and Head, Civil Engineering. Senior Investigators are Dr. Lu Bailey, Assistant Professor of Social Foundations in the College of Education (qualitative methods) and Dr. Melanie Page, Associate Professor of Psychology (evaluation).

As part of this effort, OSU will partner with the University of Missouri, which has its own ADVANCE-PAID program, to strengthen each another's initiatives through collaboration, coordination, and joint programs.

OSU also will share its programs with area colleges, including Langston University, a Historically Black College and University, and three tribal colleges, the College of the Muscogee Nation, Comanche Nation College and Pawnee Nation College.

"A significant part of this research is to empower women and other underrepresented groups to pursue academic careers in STEM fields," Van Delinder said. "OSU is taking a leadership role in partnering with Langston and these area tribal colleges."

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make up 45 percent of the U.S. work force. But in business and industry, they are employed in only 12 percent of the science and engineering positions and 20 percent of the information technology positions.

At research universities in the United States, women have made progress but are still underrepresented. At OSU, women make up 11 percent of the faculty in STEM disciplines.