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UH Hilo awarded NSF grant to promote female STEM faculty


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of Hawaii at Hilo an ADVANCE IT-Catalyst grant to increase the representation and advancement of female faculty in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines.

The two-year, $160,000 award runs from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2014 and will fund the Exploring Diversity and Gender Equity (EDGE) Project.

EDGE represents the first phase of an action plan to construct a more vibrant intellectual, social and physical campus environment to nurture and educate a community of lifelong learners.

EDGE seeks to increase the make-up of female STEM faculty by 12 percent to a total of 40 percent by 2016. Other objectives include raising the share of those faculty holding the rank of associate professor by 9 percent to 35 percent and those at the level of full professor by 10 percent to 30 percent.

An additional goal is to achieve a female representation of at least 25 percent among the University’s senior academic leadership (Deans, Directors, and/or Department Chairs/Division Leaders).

The project will examine various methods and their effectiveness in improving recruitment, retention and promotion of female faculty in the STEM disciplines at UH Hilo and how women differ from their male counterparts in their approach to success in academe.

As one of the most geographically isolated universities in the United States, the UH Hilo study will examine issues such as gender, ethnic background, international education, and lifestyle choices to determine whether faculty here face different challenges and/or whether different solutions are found here.

“This project will bring the existing work of the ADVANCE program into a broader population of faculty and students,” said Dr. Misaki Takabayashi, co-principal investigator of the grant. “Our faculty is in the position of educating and inspiring emerging leaders from a wide array of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. So the findings from this study should be of great interest to similar institutions throughout the United States and its affiliated territories, especially those throughout the Pacific region.”

For more information about the ADVANCE Program, visit:

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