Now Hiring! Empirically Testing a Three-Step Intervention to Increase Faculty Gender Diversity in STEM


Jessi L. Smith, Ian M. Handley, Alexander V. Zale, Sara Rushing, Martha A. Potvin




Workforce homogeneity limits creativity, discovery, and job satisfaction; nonetheless, the vast majority of university faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are men. We conducted a randomized and controlled three-step faculty search intervention based in self-determination theory aimed at increasing the number of women faculty in STEM at one US university where increasing diversity had historically proved elusive. Results show that the numbers of women candidates considered for and offered tenure-track positions were significantly higher in the intervention groups compared with those in controls. Searches in the intervention were 6.3 times more likely to make an offer to a woman candidate, and women who were made an offer were 5.8 times more likely to accept the offer from an intervention search. Although the focus was on increasing women faculty within STEM, the intervention can be adapted to other scientific and academic communities to advance diversity along any dimension.



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