November 18, 2009

NSF Supports Case Western Reserve University's IDEAL

Widened Effort Encourages Career Advancement of Women and Underrepresented Minority Men in Sciences and Engineering

A program at Case Western Reserve University to encourage career advancement of women and underrepresented minority men in sciences and engineering is expanding to five public institutions of higher education through a three-year, nearly $1 million National Science Foundation grant.

Institutions Developing Excellence in Academic Leadership (IDEAL) brings together Case Western Reserve and five public research universities across Northern Ohio: Bowling Green State University, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, the University of Akron and the University of Toledo. The goal is to foster environments conducive to recruiting, advancing and retaining women and underrepresented minority faculty in science and engineering (S&E).

"This new grant gives us a wonderful opportunity to share lessons learned with other Ohio institutions," Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder said. "Along the way, I am confident that our own faculty will gain new knowledge and understanding regarding how we can further these efforts on our own campus, as well."

Lynn Singer, deputy provost and vice president for academic programs at CWRU, is the grant's principal investigator. Diana Bilimoria, professor of organizational behavior at CWRU, and Helen Qammar, director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Akron, are IDEAL co-principal investigators.

IDEAL aims for a collaborative learning community of established and emerging faculty leaders from the six universities to build regional capacity for a high-tech workforce. Now that these universities have essentially formed a team with the same inclusion goal, the different settings are also carefully considered.

"This new partnership is grounded in organizational change theories, trying to help each university do what's best for its mission, context and culture," Bilimoria said.

The National Science Foundation has made more scientists and engineers in the United States a goal.

"We know that we are not keeping pace with the rest of the world in producing scientists and engineers, while younger faculty, both female and male, are looking for changes in the workplace environment," Singer said. "To be competitive globally, we will need to transform university policies and practices that are barriers to the achievement of equity and the full participation of all faculty."

IDEAL builds on Case Western Reserve University's ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant, awarded by NSF in 2003. CWRU, the first private university to be awarded an ADVANCE grant, established the program Academic Careers in Engineering & Science (ACES) and accomplished growth in the numbers women in S&E faculty and leadership positions.

For example, the Case School of Engineering had no women in leadership positions in 2003 and subsequently made two women department chairs and one associate dean.

Kelly Mack, the NSF's ADVANCE program director, said the new award is exciting partly because it focuses on the northern Ohio region. She said IDEAL's coordinated and systematic approach would, ultimately, achieve greater results than if the six universities acted separately.

"We applaud the efforts of these neighboring institutions to work as a cohesive unit to share resources, ideas and best practices," Mack said.

Singer said CWRU's institutional transformation efforts have promoted a culture more characterized by equality, participation, openness and accountability. Recently chosen Change Leadership Fellows at CWRU are Kathleen Kash, a professor of physics; Dan Scherson, a professor of chemistry and Daniella Calvetti, chair of the Department of Mathematics.

IDEAL's Board:
  • Lynn Singer, deputy provost and vice president for academic programs, Case Western Reserve University; IDEAL PI
  • Diana Bilimoria, professor of organizational behavior, Case Western Reserve University; IDEAL Co-PI
  • Helen Qammar, director, Institute for Teaching and Learning and professor of chemical engineering, University of Akron; IDEAL Co-PI and co-director
  • Deanne Snavely, interim vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate College, Bowling Green State University; IDEAL co-director
  • Paul P. Lin, associate dean, College of Engineering, Cleveland State University; IDEAL co-director
  • Mary Louise Holly, director, Faculty Professional Development Center and professor of teaching, leadership and curriculum studies, Kent State University; IDEAL co-director
  • Penny Poplin Gosetti, interim vice provost for academic innovation, University of Toledo; IDEAL co-director
  • W. A. "Bud" Baeslack III, provost and executive vice president, Case Western Reserve University; IDEAL advisory board member
  • Abigail Stewart, professor of psychology and women's studies, University of Michigan; IDEAL advisory board member
  • Melissa Cardenas, director, Academic Quality Assurance, Ohio Board of Regents; IDEAL advisory board member
  • Rebecca O. Bagley, president and chief executive officer, NorTech; IDEAL advisory board member
  • Amanda Shaffer, project director, Institutions Developing Excellence in Academic Leadership, Case Western Reserve University

For more information contact Marv Kropko, 216.368.6890.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, November 18, 2009 10:25 AM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty, Provost Initiatives, Research, Weatherhead School of Management, news

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