Villanova gets $3 million from the feds to study inclusion in STEM

Funding from the National Science Foundation will let the Main Line school look at the inclusion of STEM faculty from underrepresented groups.

Around 10,000 students attend Villanova's six colleges.

(Courtesy photo)

Over the next five years, researchers at Villanova University will study attraction and retention of underrepresented groups in STEM faculty, fueled by a $3-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Institutional Transformation Grant awarded to Villanova is part of the ADVANCE program, an NSF initiative aimed at diversifying the STEM workforce. At the Main Line school, a half dozen researchers will examine how higher-ed institutions in “transition” — like Villanova, which became a Doctoral Research Institution in 2016 — can ensure participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

Amanda Grannas, Villanova’s associate vice provost for research and the project’s principal investigator, said women and underrepresented minorities are not being successfully recruited and retained in STEM.

“These individuals are particularly vulnerable to marginalization during times of significant institutional change,” Grannas said. “With this ADVANCE grant, Villanova will explore how best to engage, support and champion women and underrepresented faculty during transitional times.”

The research team will combine research and programming to undertake a “critical review of Villanova’s recruiting, hiring and retention practices; its campus culture for diversity, inclusion and equity; and how its evolving status as a national research university impacts its faculty, particularly in STEM.”

After looking at Villanova’s experience, the research team will produce a model of institutional change that might help other universities reduce the potential for “institutional bias against women and underrepresented minorities during times of major institutional transition.”


The research effort will also include Villanova’s Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

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