Women ADVANCE at USM Initiative

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded USM a grant worth over $150,000 to fund the Southern Maine ADVANCE IT Catalyst project.

This grant funds a study to determine how USM can better recruit, retain and advance female faculty members in the sciences, technology, engineering and math fields, as well as in the social and behavioral sciences.  The study will identify best practices at similar institutions, and will fund an analysis of workload trends and the characteristics of a campus culture that tend to retain female faculty in those disciplines.

The goal is to help build a faculty that can serve as role models to women students, especially older women with families and women veterans, and improve the university's efforts to recruit and retain more women students in these disciplines.


USM is the only regional comprehensive university in the state, and situated in the most diverse region of the state. As a result of its commitment to creating a culture and environment for attaining and sustaining a diverse faculty population that reflects the community it serves, the Southern Maine ADVANCE IT Catalyst project will focus on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative assessment of systemic institutional factors affecting recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the STEM disciplines. Major activities include, but are not limited to: collecting and analyzing baseline data, collecting and reviewing information about best practices and lessons learned and developing a data-driven, evidence-based institutional transformational readiness plan to support women faculty. Results from this project are expected to yield sustained transformation that will positively impact the number of women faculty who could serve as role models to a growing population of non-traditional and female students, especially women veterans, and provide the institution with the necessary platform to serve as a model for other comprehensive universities that share some of the same unique characteristics.

PI: Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh

Co-PIs: Andrew Anderson, Dahlia Lynn, Joyce Gibson