About Us


postersThe ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence aims to transform the institutional culture of our University by facilitating networks, offering individual mentoring and support, and offering information and strategic opportunities for women faculty in all areas of academia. The ADVANCE Program aims to produce academic environments with assumptions, values and beliefs, policies and practices that support and generate professional growth and excellence for all faculty.

Project Overview

University of Maryland, College Park, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), has made an historic commitment to the professional growth of women faculty in all academic disciplines at our institution.  Through this partnership, which involves a major contribution of in-kind funding from the University, the ADVANCE Program aims to improve rates of retention and advancement of women faculty by fostering changes in institutional culture.

Across academic disciplines and fields, there are well-documented problems in retention, time to advancement, and representation of women in upper ranks, which institutions are studying and trying to tackle with concrete programs, policy and culture change. Research suggests that the retention and advancement of women faculty members is greater when the institutional environment is supportive of their professional growth, values their contributions, and invests in their success.  As a result, the specific aims of the ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence are to:

  • Enhance faculty learning by providing opportunities for intellectual connection, visibility and recognition in scholarship, funding, policymaking and national discipline-related associations.
  • Facilitate faculty sense of agency [sense of power to create work contexts that meet goals] in  recruitment into faculty positions, management of work and family balance, the tenure process and promotion to full professor, negotiation of workload and salary, and advancement to leadership positions within their disciplines and on campus.
  • Catalyze and engender faculty relationships and networks by engaging women in peer-to-peer mentoring groups, collaborative grant projects and professional development experiences with senior scholars in their disciplines.
  • Encourage achievement of faculty long-term goals and contributions by providing seed money and mentoring for women’s promising interdisciplinary, engaged, and entrepreneurial research projects.

Through the combined resources of the University of Maryland and the NSF, the ADVANCE Program aims to improve the environment, visibility, and support for women faculty in all disciplines.  Indeed, our goal is to transform the institutional culture such that our campus acts as a genuine incubator for professional growth, and enables all faculty to perform at the highest levels.

View our NSF Grant [pdf]

Project Activities

ADVANCE Professors

Accomplished women faculty in leadership positions within their colleges will be recruited to act as role models and mentors for their more junior colleagues. All ADVANCE professors will be awarded a yearly stipend and course release time.

Senior STEM Women’s Council

Ten women from major national research foundations or policymaking bodies will be invited to attend biannual workshops aimed at facilitating the establishment of social networks and aggressively promoting qualified women faculty to positions on science advisory boards, editorial boards, and policy positions.

Women’s Leadership Training

The ADVANCE program will partner with SAGE (Seeking Administrative Growth through Excellence), a project of the Office of Faculty Affairs, The Center for Leadership and Organizational Change, and the Coordinating Council for Equity and Diversity, to help promising faculty members to develop skills in administration and management. This program will provide support and training for at least two cohorts of women from STEM and non-STEM fields and will enhance the pipeline to leadership positions for women at UM.

Seminar Series

Annually, each college will invite one prominent woman scholar to campus to give a lecture on her research and interact with women faculty at a reception afterward. This will increase the visibility of the scholarship of women and enhance networking within fields.

Dashboard Project

This project will establish an online resource in each college that provides information about career accomplishments and advancement so that all faculty members can gauge how they compare to their peers. It will be used by faculty members, in collaboration with department chairs and the ADVANCE professors, for career benchmarking and advancement.

Peer-Learning Communities

Three communities will be established, bringing together:

  1. Assistant professors to discuss tenure, publication, supervision of research projects, and early career teaching issues
  2. Associate professors to focus on preparing for promotion to full professor
  3. Aspiring/current PIs

Balance of Work and Family Initiatives

The Provost’s Office will work with deans, associate deans, and the ADVANCE professors to train department chairs on the application of new policies targeting parental leave, modified duties, and part-time tenure track options.

Interdisciplinary Seed Grants

Individual grants, in the amount of $20,000 each, will be awarded in all colleges, each year, to women faculty members proposing projects with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary and engaged research.

View Listing of Seed Grant Awardees - Year One [pdf]