ADVANCE at a Glance

Brief History

nsfThe goal of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators. As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF’s multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in academic science and engineering.

Since 2001, the NSF has invested over $130M to support ADVANCE projects at more than one-hundred institutions of higher education and STEM-related not-for-profit organizations in forty-one states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, including twenty-four EPSCoR jurisdictions.

University of Massachusetts Receives NSF ADVANCE Award

advanceThe NSF ADVANCE award will allow researchers at UMass Worcester and UMass Lowell to advance the study of Gender bias in the workplace. Recent studies have noted the persistent underrepresentation of women in higher ranks of STEM fields, for both industry and academia.

Many advances have been made in addressing the most visible barriers to increase participation of women in STEM fields. Nevertheless, many studies describe how subtle biases within the institution can lead to fewer opportunities for leadership positions, preventing women faculty from achieving their full potential. Often referred to as micro-inequities, the accumulation of subtle biases over years (“a thousand pounds of feathers”) can have a profound negative effect on the career trajectory of female STEM faculty. This project will help us to better understand faculty members’ experiences as they relate to promotion and retention. Learn more.

Objective of Project

The team will focus on creating new metrics and tools for the assessment and quantification of subtle gender biases and other causes of micro-inequities—the accumulation of subtle biases over a long period of time. Development of the quantitative Subtle Gender Bias Index (SGBI) may lead to identification and intervention and ultimately made negligible over time.