Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why ADVANCE is Important for Michigan Tech

The following represent the most frequently asked questions about ADVANCE at Michigan Tech. With additional questions, comments or suggestions, please contact ADVANCE. For a concise overview of the evolution of ADVANCE from an NSF-sponsored grant to a series of transformational campus initiatives strongly supported by the Provost's Office, please consult the Grant Summary Report and the Grant Summary Presentation.      

What is ADVANCE?

While ADVANCE is designed to enrich the entire Michigan Tech campus community, it is focused particularly around the recruitment, retention, and promotion of female faculty in the STEM fields at Michigan Tech.

The ADVANCE initiative began as an NSF-sponsored Grant aimed at improving the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related fields. The multi-university ADVANCE grants emerged after the publication of the MIT report A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT  which uncovered gross inequities in the professional advancement of senior female faculty in the School of Science. The ADVANCE grant at Michigan Tech is used to promote a more richly diverse campus community based on the promotion of best practices in gender equity, participation, transparency, and accountability.

Existing under the aegis of the Provost's Office, ADVANCE is staffed by faculty and administrators from across campus. ADVANCE is currently headed by Associate Provost Christa Walck, who oversees progress on the six transformational initiatives at Michigan Tech.

What are the ADVANCE initiatives?

ADVANCE at Michigan Tech involves six initiatives, including:

  1. Training and educational resources for faculty, staff, chairs, and deans through diversity and bias literacy seminars
  2. Mentoring programs for new faculty
  3. Continuous assessment through focused faculty climate surveys and focus groups
  4. Increased accountability for faculty, chairs, and deans in faculty search and hiring procedures
  5. Development of software and hardware enhancements to Michigan Tech's current processing scheme for faculty applicants
  6. Integration of Human Resources, search committees, and administrators in seamless, effective, and rapid hiring procedures, including the institution of a cluster-hiring process to parallel departmental hiring processes

How will ADVANCE transform Michigan Tech?

By educating the campus community and reshaping the culture and practices (including hiring, and promotion and tenure practices and procedures) at Michigan Tech, ADVANCE hopes to promote a campus climate characterized by diversity and gender equity. Such a culture and climate will help attract and retain a world-class faculty. Clear and equitable institutional goals and standards for hiring, promotion, and tenure will persuade new faculty to apply to Michigan Tech and help them see a clear path for advancement once hired.

How does the Mentoring Program work?

The ADVANCE mentoring initiative has instituted the requirement that each department have a formal mentoring plan, approved by its respective Dean. It also encourages the institution of professional development programs, to include devoting one academic forum each year to mentoring, and as well as smaller, more frequent seminars for pre-tenure faculty on various topics such as proposal writing, advising faculty, and others. The mentoring intiative is aimed at all new tenure-track faculty, both women and men. Although currently the initiative supports only tenure-track faculty, work is proposed to address the mentoring needs of mid-career faculty.

How does ADVANCE measure success?

Ultimately, success will be measured by the long-term positive transformation in the personal- and work lives of the Michigan Tech community. However, ADVANCE also measures the change in procedures, practices, and attitudes of faculty, staff and students on campus through a variety of surveys and other metrics. For more information on these various metrics, please see the ADVANCE NSF Grant Summary Report or you may contact the Provost's office directly. 

How can I help increase gender equity at Michigan Tech?

There are several ways to get involved in the effort to transform Michigan Tech into a more diverse and equitable campus. Championing diversity and gender equity where appropriate in institutional settings (e.g., while serving on a search committee) is one of the biggest ways one can help transform the climate at Michigan Tech. A good start to educating oneself in this area is to peruse the resources provided on this website in the form of scholarly articles and scholarly books, as well as links to professional organizations and community resources.

You may also enlist as one of several paid peer facilitator for the Diversity Literacy Workshop each semester. For more information on this position, please contact contact Dr. Patty Sotirin (7-3264) or Dr. Sonia Goltz (7-3075).

What is Diversity Literacy Certification and why is it important?

The Diversity Literacy Workshop is one of several ways the Provost's Office, through ADVANCE, works to increase the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in STEM fields at Michigan Tech. The program trains Michigan Tech faculty, especially those serving on search, and promotion and tenure committees, to be literate in issues of gender diversity and unconcious gender bias in academia in order to build a more diverse and equitable campus climate.

As of Fall, 2012, the university requires that all tenure-track faculty, as well as any adjunct faculty who serve on either a search committee, or a promotion and tenure committee, be diversity literacy certified. This certification entails maintaining current literacy training in diversity and unconscious gender bias through the Diversity Literacy Workshop. This website will provide you with information on your Diversity Literacy Certification Status as well as our schedule of upcoming workshops.

How can I become Diversity Literacy Certified?

You may obtain Diversity Literacy Certification by completing the Diversity Literacy Workshop. The Workshop is offered several times each year. Each workshop consist of two components, and participants must complete both components in order to receive certification:

  • A three-week online course in recognizing unconscious gender bias
  • A culminating seminar in legal aspects of hiring for diversity

To register, please contact Dr. Patty Sotirin (7-3264) or Dr. Sonia Goltz (7-3075) after consulting our Schedule of Workshop Dates.