Congratulations to the DU-MERISTEM team on earning a NSF-ADVANCE grant

Jul 22, 2021

We’re so excited to announce that a team of cross-disciplinary campus leaders, led by Professor Anna Sher and supported by the Office of the Provost, has been awarded the prestigious NSF Organization Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions (ADVANCE) grant for their DU-MERISTEM proposal.The 3-year, nearly $1 million grant builds on existing momentum to better support historically excluded faculty in the STEM fields at DU, as detailed in their abstract:

The specific goals of DU-MERISTEM are to 1) Improve hiring practices to increase diverse representation, 2) Increase support across the career trajectory, particularly ensuring that new hires have a pathway to career success, and 3) Make the climate more positive for women and other diverse hires through changes to departmental cultures. To advance these aims, DU-MERISTEM will use approaches based in ecological systems theory and the Kotter’s change models, which emphasize sustainability and the critical role of leadership. Using this foundation, DU will develop and implement three programs informed by successes at other schools: 1) DU-GROW, in which chairs and others engaged in searches and promotion will receive special training in best practices to foster diversity and equity; 2) DU-DEVELOP, a mentor training program with a focus on helping new hires succeed; and 3) DU-HEAL, an accountability structure for leadership and clear mechanisms to address microaggressions and other conflicts, using specially trained “equity advocates.” Together, these initiatives are intended to shift the culture in such a way as to both increase numbers of women and other underrepresented groups as well as create an environment in which they are supported and can succeed.

Please watch for more information as the grant-time ramps up and invites faculty in all appointment series to engage in this work. The grant funds a Project Coordinator as well as faculty mentoring liaisons who will work with the PIs to move the grant goals forward, in collaboration with a steering committee.

Principal Investigators include PI Mary Clark, Co-PI Dr. Corinne Lengsfed, Co-PI Dr. Kristin Deal, CO-PI Dr. Anna Sher, and Co-PI Deb Ortega who collaborated with ODEI, VPFA, Equity Labs, HRIC, and numerous teaching and tenure line faculty to write the grant. Along with these leaders, the following campus members worked on the application: Scott Leutenegger, Jerron Lowe,  Helen Mcgrath, Nancy Sasaki, Erica Larson, Shannon Murphy, Robin Tinghitella, Brianna Johnson, Maria Calbi, Anthea Johnson, Tali Thomason, Lisa Martinez, Kate Willink, Anne DePrince, Kerstin Haring, Michelle Knowles, Tom Romero, Alison Staudinger, and many more. An NSF grant is a difficult process, even when there isn’t a global pandemic, and your work is much appreciated!

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