National Science Foundation ADVANCE IT-Catalyst

Assessing the Participation of Women Faculty in Science at UW-L

The goal of the NSF ADVANCE program is to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce.

IT (Institutional Transformation)-Catalyst awards support institutional self-assessment activities, such as basic data collection and analysis and policy review, in order to identify specific issues in the recruitment, retention and promotion of women faculty in STEM academics.

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The IT-Catalyst Project at UW-L


Women faculty are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines at UW-L.  Due to the collaborative nature of this project, the NSF ADVANCE IT-Catalyst grant is housed in the College of Science and Health.

The following STEM departments are part of this study:

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Computer Science

  • Geography & Earth Science

  • Mathematics

  • Microbiology

  • Physics

       Women in science through history collage 

Goals of the IT-Catalyst project

  • To assess the status of women faculty in science at UW-L
  • Identify if there are barriers to their retention, advancement and full participation in academic science and the University
  • To develop an action plan, if needed, for transformation that can be implemented beyond the grant period

Research questions

  • What is the status of women faculty in science at UW-L?
  • Are there barriers to the recruitment and advancement of women in the sciences?
  • How successful are existing structures, such as programs and policies, at addressing these barriers?

Data collection

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • Patterns of tenure and non-tenure track status

  • Hiring, retention, tenure, and promotion

  • Teaching assignment (number of courses, course level, etc.)

  • Distribution of resources (e.g. lab space)

  • Service (e.g. time served on committees)

  • Mentoring

  • Work-life balance

Woman scientist working in lab 

Long term goals

  • To break down any barriers for women faculty in the sciences at UW-L
  • To ensure that UW-L is an inclusive institution where all faculty are given the opportunity to participate equally in their profession and advance to positions of leadership
  • To ultimately increase involvement of underrepresented undergraduate students in the STEM fields


To view the activities of other ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant recipients, please visit the ADVANCE portal.
To view the poster presented at the 2009 ADVANCE Program Meeting in Alexandria, VA, please click here (PDF).
To view the poster presented at the 2010 ADVANCE Program Meeting in Alexandria, VA, please click here (PDF).

For more information regarding the ADVANCE IT-Catalyst project, please contact:

Cynthia Berlin, PhD
Principal Investigator (PI)
(608) 785-8340

Katie Hosley, MS
Project Researcher
(608) 785-8667


Raymond Abhold, PhD
(608) 785-8218


Kathleen Enz-Finken, PhD, Provost
(608) 785-8042

Jennifer Wilson, PhD
(608) 785-8013

Funded by NSF Award No. HRD-0810322