What is it?

Based on similar programs developed at other ADVANCE universities, our program aims to support new women faculty in the classroom and enhance their experience of autonomy, competence and relatedness, by explicitly communicating to students on the first day of class that they are fortunate to be on the receiving end of scholarly and pedagogical excellence. The First Lecture Introduction requires having a respected authority figure take just thirty seconds to introduce a new faculty member, and to convey to students that they are in good hands with this valued expert. We encourage Department Heads/Chairs or Deans to come to the classroom and make this introduction for all new faculty, but especially junior women faculty in STEM/SBS.

Why do it?

Drawing of Scientist

When women faculty, especially minority women, in traditionally male dominated fields walk into a classroom they are often confronted by a subtle skepticism from students (e.g., Pittman, 2010; Potvin, Hazari, Tai & Sadler, 2009; Winocur, Shoen, & Sirowatka, 1989) likely because women do not fit the stereotype of a professor (Eagly & Dieckman, 2005; Steinpreis, Anders, & Ritzke, 1999). Women often must meet a higher set of standards to receive similar ratings as identically qualified men, especially in male-dominated fields where gender stereotypes abound (e.g., Biernat, 2009; Smith, Paul & Paul, 2007). Indeed, when asked to draw a scientist students as young as 6th grade all the way up to college students and graduate students, will typically a draw a white male wearing a lab coat (see Finson, 2002 for a review). Such expectations by students can result in some women faculty having to work against the stereotypes to prove their legitimacy in the classroom. A First Lecture Introduction can help reduce this extra burden.

Why it is important?

Gender and Student Evaluations: An Annotated Bibliography Developed at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan

How to do it:

Below is a brief entertaining video demonstrating what a "First Lecture" introduction might look like!