Joanne Goodell Ph.D, Michael Horvath Ph.D, Lili Dong Ph.D, Cheryl Bracken Ph.D.
Credit: Cleveland State University
From left to right: Joanne Goodell Ph.D, Michael Horvath Ph.D, Lili Dong Ph.D and Cheryl Bracken Ph.D, the leads in a CSU research team awarded a three-year $1 million grant by the National Science Foundation to research faculty gender equity.

CSU “Achieving Excellence" research team awarded $1 million in NSF funding

The National Science Foundation's three-year grant is for the Cleveland State University research team's project titled “Achieving Excellence and Equity through Academic Leadership Development.”

A team of researchers from Cleveland State University has been awarded a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program for a project titled “Achieving Excellence and Equity through Academic Leadership Development.”

The grant will help continue CSU’s ongoing efforts to achieve gender equity among faculty, particularly STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) faculty. The project will draw on successful national models, both from academia and business, for evidence-based practices that positively impact gender equity and can be adapted to CSU’s specific needs.  

The university places great value on equity and inclusion for everyone at the university,” co-principal investigator Joanne Goodell, Ph.D. said. “Gender equity is a part of that."

"Additionally, the USA has a severe shortage of professionals in STEM," Goodell said. "If we can’t attract almost half of the potential workforce, [women] then we will never meet the demand. Everyone needs role models, so if there are no female faculty, it is much harder to attract and retain women in STEM.”

Goodell is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education. The other principal investigators for the project are Michael Horvath, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Lili Dong, Ph.D., associate professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Cheryl Bracken, Ph.D., interim vice provost for faculty affairs and professor in the School of Communication. The project team includes Toufik Aidja, associate lecturer in Engineering Technology.

The team saw a chance to benefit CSU and STEM education in general in the NSF grant opportunity.

 “Many faculty, staff, and administrators at CSU are regularly working on ways to improve equity among faculty, not just with respect to gender but also with respect to many other aspects of identity,” Professor Horvath said. “When some of us saw that NSF was offering a chance to fund some of our efforts, we got together to prepare a proposal.”

 Although this project focuses more on the faculty at CSU, the students will also benefit. 

 The project has the potential to better support the CSU faculty to thrive in teaching, research, and scholarship,” Professor Dong said. “In turn, this will benefit the students tremendously."

"Increasing the success of female STEM faculty leads to increases in the engineering student success metric which will eventually make a better world," Dong said. With this project starting in November we hope to see more gender equality in the future of faculty and different programs at CSU."