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Professional Development Programs for Women in Academic Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fields: Enhancing Retention and Promotion

Maria A. Gartstein, Gregory R. Hancock

Abstract


Under-representation of women in academic Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) requires multi-faceted solutions focused on retention along with recruitment. This study addresses programs developed to provide mentorship, work-life balance support, and leadership training, evaluating their perceived benefits and objective productivity markers, relying on quantitative and qualitative data. High levels of satisfaction were demonstrated for career-advancement initiatives, with the program providing support during periods of personal challenges rated somewhat higher. All programs resulted in productivity gains, including more publications, conference presentations, and promotions post-participation, providing support for multi-faceted career development, spanning scholarship and work-life balance, and targeting STEM women academic staff across the career trajectory. Similar efforts can be expected to prove effective in other higher education settings, in the US and elsewhere, providing career support and development opportunities for women in STEM. “Best practices” resulting from this program implementation are currently being disseminated regionally and await broader applications.


Keywords


career development, academic staff, women in STEM, program evaluation, academic administrators

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