November 03, 2008

Case Western Reserve University Sees Significant Improvement in Women in Science and Engineering

Case Western Reserve University has advanced the number of women teaching—and in leadership positions—in the sciences and engineering by more than 17 percent over the last four years.

In addition to the 17.3 percent increase of women in the sciences in engineering university-wide, Case Western Reserve—the first private university awarded a spot in the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program—reports other significant changes as a result of the $3.5 million grant:

  • Along with the first female president in its history, the university also has appointed the first female dean of its School of Medicine.
  • Case Western Reserve's College of Arts and Sciences had no female department chairs at the start of the grant in 2004-2005. Today it has three, one each in astronomy, chemistry and math–the first female chairs in the history of the departments.
  • The Case School of Engineering now has two female department chairs, one in electrical engineering and computer sciences and one in mechanical and aerospace engineering–again the first female chairs in the history of the departments.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences has an endowed professorship, the new Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science, held by a female faculty member with expertise in gender studies.
  • A female faculty member in the Case School of Engineering founded a major National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems.
  • In the Weatherhead School of Management, the number of women promoted to the level of associate dean doubled from one to two.

In addition to increases in women faculty and administrators in the sciences and engineering, the university also has improved its overall institutional policies and benefits to encourage diversity. Deans now are required to review the diversity of all candidate pools for faculty hires in their schools. The university offers automatic tenure extension, partner hiring and work release and has approved a paid parental leave policy that we will launch as soon as it receives Faculty Senate approval, among other initiatives.

Deputy Provost Lynn Singer has served as principal investigator for the NSF ADVANCE grant, but she attributes the triumph to a true team effort–and says the progress seen so far represents just the beginning.

"Case Western Reserve University's institutional transformation is a result of a multifaceted initiative to promote a campus-wide culture characterized by equality, participation, openness and accountability–precisely the kind of collective effort we need to build upon to truly make this topic a constant, campus-wide imperative," Singer said.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, November 3, 2008 02:33 PM | News Topics: Administration, Case School of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Research, Science, Teaching, Technology, Weatherhead School of Management, news

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