The Skidmore-Union SUN Network is a collaboration between Skidmore College and Union College, two selective liberal arts colleges located in upstate New York, to enhance the recruitment and retention of women in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and to facilitate their advancement through the tenure and promotion processes. This undertaking has been made possible by a three-year grant from the NSF ADVANCE program, a federal program with the goal of increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. Our project is one of the ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation, and Dissemination (PAID), which are intended to adapt best practices from larger ADVANCE institutions that have ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grants, and to disseminate our programs to other academic institutions.
The SUN project targets women faculty in the STEM disciplines at two specific career stages: tenure-track women and tenured associate professors who have been at that rank for seven or more years. A central goal is to provide these women with the resources and support to move up in rank from assistant to tenured associate professor or from associate to full professor. In addition, we seek to understand local climate issues that affect hiring, faculty development, and promotion of women and create environments that will result in a more balanced gender ratio in STEM disciplines at our institutions. The project comprises two types of activities:
• Activities aimed at recognizing and combating gender bias in the STEM disciplines, including climate surveys, training workshops for hiring and promotion, public events to raise awareness across campus and educational activities to reduce undergraduate bias;
• Activities providing STEM faculty with mentoring and development opportunities to help them advance their careers, including: the creation of a cross-institutional mentoring network of women in the STEM disciplines and support for research, advanced education and teaching load modification.
The purpose of this website is to assist STEM faculty in finding out about our array of programs, and to help them establish mentoring relationships. We welcome any comments or suggestions regarding this website and, more generally, regarding any aspect of the Skidmore-Union SUN program.