The StratEGIC Toolkit: Strategies to Support Gender Equity in Geoscience Faculties

Wednesday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms


Sandra Laursen, University of Colorado at Boulder
Ann Austin, Michigan State University
The percentage of women earning geoscience degrees has increased in recent decades, but women's representation in geoscience faculty positions still lags well behind degree completion. Increasing women's representation and involvement in academic science requires system-wide efforts to identify and remove organizational constraints that lead to gendered biases in institutional policies and processes. The National Science Foundation's ADVANCE program represents a formal shift from viewing women's underrepresentation as a problem of women--"fitting women in" to existing structures and enhancing their professional competitiveness-- to recognizing that organizational structures and advancement criteria in the academy are optimized for traditional male career patterns.

The StratEGIC Toolkit, Strategies for Effecting Gender Equity and Institutional Change (, is a research-based, online toolkit intended to guide organizational leaders in developing these system-wide efforts. Through a five-year study, our research team studied approaches to organizational change taken by pioneering ADVANCE grantees, asking: What strategies have been used to create institutional environments that encourage the success of women scholars? Which strategies work, which don't, and why? And what strategies should thus be included in a change plan?

From the study findings, we identify 13 types of interventions often used to change university structures, practices, and cultures. Each is described in a "Strategic Intervention Brief" that enumerates various intervention designs and their strengths and limitations. In addition, over a dozen "Institutional Portfolios" provide specific institutional examples of how these interventions have been combined into comprehensive change initiatives.

Organizational leaders can use the Toolkit to strategically select and adapt interventions to their own settings. Some interventions can be implemented in departments and colleges; others operate best at an institutional level; many apply to non-academic organizations as well. Collectively, the StratEGIC interventions reach multiple levels of an institution and offer multiple levers for effecting change within university systems, structures and climates.