An Assessment of the Challenges of STEM Women Faculty in an Urban Predominantly Undergraduate University

Zhong, Xaiohui (Kathy), Dawn Archey, Linda Slowik, Pamela Zarkowski, Kathleen Zimmerman-Oster, and Ryan Todoroff

: TRANSFORM UDM!, launched August 2014, is an Institutional Transformation Catalyst project funded by the NSF ADVANCE program to the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM).  An in-depth self-assessment of the current workplace climate was undertaken to identify the needs of STEM women faculty at UDM, in order to inform future efforts and strategies focused on positive changes.  Such efforts seek to develop a foundation for women in STEM fields to achieve parity with their male colleagues, as well as help the university provide support to STEM women so they may fulfill their full potential.   

As the first step of this project, a faculty work experience survey was conducted in November 2014 to identify specific issues impeding the recruitment, retention, and promotion of STEM female faculty. Although preliminary results indicate that the campus climate is generally positive, gender differences do exist in a number of areas.  Female STEM faculty will be invited to focus groups to begin dialogue on these differences and how to address them.  Another component of the grant, NetWalking, was launched as an informal “walk and talk” program for promoting health and well-being among faculty.  Promotion and sustainment efforts, program participation, and reaction of university faculty will be presented.