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An interdisciplinary team of University of New Mexico faculty recently secured a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation through the NSF Advance program for institutional transformation. The project, to be called Advance at UNM, will foster the success of women and minority STEM faculty.

Julia Fulghum, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Mala Htun, Political Science, will lead this interdisciplinary effort. The project’s co-principal investigators are Mary Jo Daniel with the Office of the Vice President for Research, Stephanie Forrest, Computer Science, and Felipe Gonzales, Sociology.

On UNM’s main campus, women make up 29 percent of all STEM faculty. Eight percent of STEM faculty are Hispanic, two percent are Native American and two percent are African American. These numbers, although low, are higher than those at many other research universities. Yet recent studies conducted on campus show that women and minority faculty at UNM face more challenges to their professional success than white, non-Hispanic, male faculty throughout their careers.

“We are all excited to have this opportunity to positively influence the UNM climate, and to assist faculty and departments, particularly given the current budget situation,” says Program Director Fulghum. “Our program will partner with the University leadership in sustainable efforts to develop new internal expertise and dramatically expand resources for faculty at all career stages.”

“Advance at UNM's initiatives will plug the leaky pipeline across all fields to retain and advance women and minority STEM faculty. Along the way, Advance programs will transform the university climate to enhance faculty productivity and help everyone to reach higher levels of excellence in their work," said Htun, the project’s deputy director.

“I am very proud of the team that won this prestigious grant, which will help us support women and minority STEM faculty, and through that effort to increase the success of our students,” said Provost Chaouki Abdallah, “It is a testimony to the efforts of this multidisciplinary team, and to their commitment to the mission of UNM, that we were successful in securing this funding. I will continue to support this work using endowment matching, and plan to ultimately sustain it by implementing its best practices and findings.”