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Welcome to the ADVANCE RIT NSF Grant Website

The ADVANCE IT-Catalyst project, “Establishing the Foundation for Future Organizational Reform and Transformation at Rochester Institute of Technology” Establishing the Foundation for Future Organizational and Reform at RIT or simply EFFORT@RIT (#0811076, 8/1/08 – 7/31/12, $199,770,  The EFFORT@RIT research objective is to identify barriers for current women faculty at RIT in regards to rank, tenure, career advancement, leadership role progression, and resource allocation in order to establish how well the university addresses issues that have been found to be important in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty.  During the study, the research team sought answers to six primary research questions:  1) What is the distribution of STEM faculty by gender, rank, and department?  2) What are the outcomes of institutional processes of recruitment and advancement for men and women?  3) What is the gender distribution of faculty in leadership positions?  4) What is the allocation of resources for faculty?  5) Are there barriers to the recruitment and advancement of women?  6) How successful are existing structures at addressing these barriers? The study focused on six colleges including computing, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and where possible and practical, extended the focus to the two remaining colleges (liberal arts and business) and other non-STEM departments due to the integral role each serve within this technologically focused university. 

Climate survey results, in conjunction with the objective data review and benchmarking information, led to the identification of barriers to the recruitment and advancement of women faculty involving career navigation, climate, and flexibility/options for managing the work/life
balance.  Issues related to career navigation could be caused by women’s self-agency and negotiation skills, coupled with a lack of “sponsorship” from more seasoned faculty and/or administration, hinder the success of female faculty in obtaining more advantageous starting packages, assignments, compensation, and promotion.   Climate issues are exacerbated by female’s view of the workplace in personal terms, as opposed to a more male process-oriented view, meaning that issues of connectedness, support, and interpersonal relations, are important to their success.  Overall satisfaction for men and women seems to be tied to faculty perception of value and influence, and to a lesser extent to one’s view of the department climate and work/life balance.  Finally, managing work/life balance through flexible work arrangements, available and convenient child care, and tenure clock adjustments, may lower stress and increase satisfaction, and potentially aid in the retention of female (and male) faculty.

This study sought answers to each research question and the following report summarizes evidence-driven results and conclusions for each.  Based on the findings, a list of detailed recommendations are offered which will afford RIT the opportunity to systematically track and report on data related to the representation, advancement, and recruitment of women faculty at RIT.  To promote the success and advancement of women faculty at RIT, other recommendations are aimed at enhancing or implementing new programs and policies which stem from the study’s findings.  Recommendations that follow seek to address barriers to the recruitment, representation, and advancement of women faculty at RIT by building on existing institutional structures as well as developing and integrating new structures.

Human Resources Objective Data Review

Using data from the Human Resources Information System, counts of STEM tenured and tenure track faculty were developed for the periods of October 2004 through October 2010 to examine trends. Where more in-depth data was readily available, it was used to study areas including leadership, applicants, hires, attrition, promotion and tenure.

Policies Review

The policy benchmarking activity was one of the earliest activities in the grant, providing a starting point for identifying areas that should be investigated further in the survey activity.

Climate Survey

Over the course of the 2008 academic year, the Survey Group developed a comprehensive career-life survey focusing on gender issues in STEM. The team reviewed climate surveys previously developed and administered at other NSF ADVANCE institutions, primarily the survey developed 

Team at RIT

Margaret Bailey
College of Engineering
Professor, WE@RIT Executive Director, and Faculty Associate to the Provost for Female Faculty at RIT
Stefi Baum
College of Science
Director of the Center for Imaging Science and Professor
Elizabeth DeBartolo
College of Engineering
Associate Professor
Steven LaLonde
College of Engineering
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Chair, John D. Hromi Center for Quality and Applied Statistics
Carol Marchetti
College of Science
Associate Professor
Sharon Mason
College of Computing
Faculty Associate, Dean's Office, Women in Computing Executive Director, and Associate Professor
Jacqueline Mozrall
College of Engineering
Associate Dean and Professor
Maureen Valentine
College of Applied Science and Technology
Professor, Associate Dean, and Women in Technology Executive Director
Gina Williams
Human Resources Business Analyst

Current Activities

Current activities are focusing on holistic analysis of the collected data to determine how well the university provides (or fails to provide) for the elements that women seek in an academic position.  The EFFORT@RIT team is also preparing plans to affect change at the university based on this analysis.

Our Advisory Boards

The two EFFORT@RIT advisory boards provide input to the ongoing project-work.  The Internal Advisory Board is comprised of Deans, Vice-Presidents and administrators at RIT.  The RIT Presidents Commission on Women is comprised of RIT faculty and staff interested in creating strategies to increase the representation of women at RIT and improving the climate for women at RIT.  The EFFORT@RIT team meets regularly with the advisory boards to provide project updates and solicit feedback on future directions.

View Advisory Boards