Our Research and Publications

ADVANCE Faculty Survey 2018-2019 and 2022-2023

UMass ADVANCE administered a climate survey to all faculty members in Fall 2018-Winter 2019. We will conduct the same survey in 2022-2023 (Year 5 of the grant) to measure the impact of our interventions and assess change over time. The survey seeks to capture faculty members’ experiences at UMass, and whether and how these experiences vary for different identity groups. The ADVANCE team has created two-page reports summarizing key findings from the initial survey by topic. You can view or download the two-page reports or the full report, "Faculty Collaboration and Equity: UMass ADVANCE Survey Report" below.

In addition, the ADVANCE team has created best-practices tools based on these findings. They can be found on our Resources and Tools Page

Inclusive Community Findings

Research Collaboration Findings

Shared Decision Making Findings


Intersectional theory notes that gender intersects with statuses like race, ethnicity, nationality, class, sexuality, disability, and age to affect people’s lived experiences, including experiences in academic settings. While ADVANCE focuses on developing systemic, sustainable approaches to address gender disparities in the sciences, this includes dynamics at the intersection of gender and race, and other identities like sexuality, nationality, and rank. Our report and findings reflect this commitment to intersectionality. You can view or download the two-page reports below.

Race and Gender Findings

Nationality and Gender Findings

Sexuality and Gender Findings

Rank and Gender Findings

Caregiving and Gender Findings

STEM vs Non-STEM Findings


Faculty Collaboration and Equity: UMass ADVANCE Survey Report

Download the Full Faculty Survey Report


More information about the Survey

Survey questions centered around three themes: community inclusion, research collaboration, and departmental decision-making. The survey asked about faculty research, teaching, and service; the culture and decision-making style within departments and programs; quality of faculty mentoring; job satisfaction; and balance between work and personal life. Ultimately, we seek to understand if there is equity in the distribution of resources to promote faculty success and inclusion. What is going well for faculty? What areas need improvement?  

The baseline campus survey informs UMass ADVANCE goals, interventions, and programming. By collecting survey data on faculty perceptions of climate, collaboration, and decision-making, we will develop new mechanisms to support greater equity on campus.

In total, 655 UMass faculty completed the survey, for a response rate of 46%.  Because the overarching goal of the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program is to promote gender equity for STEM faculty, we primarily report on the data from the 419 UMass faculty respondents from 32 STEM departments in the College of Engineering, College of Information and Computer Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, or College or Social and Behavioral Sciences, or in the departments of Management in the Isenberg School of Management and Linguistics in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. While ADVANCE focuses on developing systemic, sustainable approaches to address gender disparities in the sciences, this includes dynamics at the intersection of gender and race, and other identities like sexuality, nationality, and rank. Our two-page reports reflect this commitment to intersectionality.

ADVANCE Social Science Research and Publications

In addition to the interventions in research collaboration, inclusive community, and shared decision-making, our team will be carrying out research, which will inform the interventions, and make contributions to the scholarly literature.

These studies will be led by Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, Joya Misra, and Laurel Smith-Doerr. They will explore how collaborations are recognized; how race, gender, and nationality affect the experiences of STEM faculty members; and how shared decision-making is made in departments.

Collaboration and Gender Equity Among Academic Scientists

Authors: Joya Misra (ADVANCE Co-PI, Director of ADVANCE Programming), Laurel Smith-Doerr (ADVANCE Co-PI, Director of ADVANCE Research Collaboration), Nilanjana Dasgupta (ADVANCE Co-PI, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences), Gabriela Weaver (ADVANCE Co-PI, Professor in Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences), and Jennifer Normanly (ADVANCE Co-PI, Professor and Head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Social Sciences, 2017, vol. 6, issue 1, 1-22

Abstract: Universities were established as hierarchical bureaucracies that reward individual attainment in evaluating success. Yet collaboration is crucial both to 21st century science and, we argue, to advancing equity for women academic scientists. We draw from research on gender equity and on collaboration in higher education, and report on data collected on one campus. Sixteen focus group meetings were held with 85 faculty members from STEM departments, separated by faculty rank and gender (i.e., assistant professor men, full professor women). Participants were asked structured questions about the role of collaboration in research, career development, and departmental decision-making. Inductive analyses of focus group data led to the development of a theoretical model in which resources, recognition, and relationships create conditions under which collaboration is likely to produce more gender equitable outcomes for STEM faculty. Ensuring women faculty have equal access to resources is central to safeguarding their success; relationships, including mutual mentoring, inclusion and collegiality, facilitate women’s careers in academia; and recognition of collaborative work bolsters women’s professional advancement. We further propose that gender equity will be stronger in STEM where resources, relationships, and recognition intersect—having multiplicative rather than additive effects.

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How the Demographic Composition of Academic Science and Engineering Departments Influences Workplace Culture, Faculty Experience, and Retention Risk

Authors: Eric E. Griffith (ADVANCE Research Assistant) and Nilanjana Dasgupta (ADVANCE Co-PI, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences)

Social Sciences, 2018, vol. 7, issue 5, 1-25

Abstract: Although on average women are underrepresented in academic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments at universities, an under appreciated fact is that women’s representation varies widely across STEM disciplines. Past research is fairly silent on how local variations in gender composition impact faculty experiences. This study fills that gap. A survey of STEM departments at a large research university finds that women faculty in STEM are less professionally satisfied than male colleagues only if they are housed in departments where women are a small numeric minority. Gender differences in satisfaction are largest in departments with less than 25% women, smaller in departments with 25–35% women, and nonexistent in departments approaching 50% women. Gender differences in professional satisfaction in gender-unbalanced departments are mediated by women’s perception that their department’s climate is uncollegial, faculty governance is non-transparent, and gender relations are inequitable. Unfavorable department climates also predict retention risk for women in departments with few women, but not in departments closer to gender parity. Finally, faculty who find within-department mentors to be useful are more likely to have a favorable view of their department’s climate, which consequently predicts more professional satisfaction. Faculty gender and gender composition does not moderate these findings, suggesting that mentoring is equally effective for all faculty. 

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Reflections on Institutional Equity for Faculty in Response to COVID-19

Authors: Dessie Clark (ADVANCE Research Collaboration Coordinator), Ethel L. Mickey (ADVANCE Postdoc), Joya Misra (ADVANCE Co-PI, Professor of Sociology).

Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence and ADVANCE Working Paper Series, 2020, 3(2) Special Issue: 92-114.

Abstract: In this reflection paper, we describe how a gender equity program at one large, public, research-intensive university has been navigating the impact of COVID-19. In times of crisis, institutional commitments to diversity may be sidelined. However, this crisis more negatively impacts careers of women academics, especially women of color. The university rushed to move online and adjusted policies and practices, including automatic tenure delays and dropping teaching evaluations to accommodate our new reality. Our ADVANCE grant focuses on improving inclusion for women and faculty of color in STEM. We suggest that inclusion is strengthened when decisions are transparent and campus stakeholders collaborate to prioritize equity. But, what does decision making look like in a pandemic, when the immediate future of higher education is uncertain? How do we support faculty in ways that are equitable and foster inclusion when the very nature of faculty work has shifted? We summarize our urgent equity priorities in response to COVID-19, and ongoing challenges for our team. This discussion will inform equity programs and diversity efforts in higher education more broadly in this current moment.

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