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Wichita State University Begins Project to Hire and Retain More Women, Minority STEM Faculty

WICHITA, KS – Wichita State University (WSU) continues to make strides toward improving opportunities for women in senior leadership, with women currently holding six out of 10 dean positions throughout the university.

Now WSU is taking an even bigger step to increase the number of women—and minorities—among its faculty with a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant funds an 18-month project to improve the university’s hiring and retention of women and minority faculty, particularly in STEM fields.

Included among the many benefits of having a more diverse faculty are the ability to serve a growing diverse student body and surrounding community, and to support greater innovation.

“Students are inspired by teachers who look like them, and diverse groups are more productive, more innovative and have better outcomes. Everyone benefits,” says Janet Twomey, associate dean of the College of Engineering and principle Investigator of the project.

The multidisciplinary team leading the way on the initiative is comprised of Davis Wright and Linnea Glenmaye (sociology), Jean Griffith (English), David Eichhorn and Moriah Beck (chemistry), Gery Markova (business), and Twomey (engineering).

WSU faculty will be asked to participate in a faculty satisfaction survey, and female STEM faculty will participate in focus groups—all with the goal of learning more about existing struggles to advancing their careers as faculty and what the university can do to increase diversity in hiring.

“The university has made great progress in terms of recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, and now we’re taking major steps to do the same for faculty in leadership positions,” says Twomey.

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