Florida Atlantic University's ADVANCE Institutional Transformation-Catalyst (IT-Catalyst) program seeks to conduct self-assessment activities, such as basic data collection and analysis and the review of relevant policies and procedures, to provide the foundation necessary to undertake institutional transformation.


The goal of the National Science foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in academic science and engineering careers, thereby developing a more diverse science and engineering workforce. 


ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) community to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators.  As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF’s multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and it supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in STEM academic careers.



  • Conduct a self-assessment of institutional policies and climate in order to identify and better understand the barriers faced by women and URMs in their recruitment, retention and advancement in STEM faculty positions,
  • Pilot selected key ADVANCE best practices that will support our overarching goals, and
  • Evaluate the impact of implementing the key ADVANCE practices at FAU both as the means by which we can systemically address our institutional issues as well as to produce evidence-based replicable practices for other similar institutions in the US.


Key Aims:

To achieve the proposed IT-Catalyst project goals, the specific aims are as follows: 

  1. We will administer a baseline and a follow-up survey, adapted from those developed by prior successful ADVANCE awardees, to characterize overall faculty climate and career satisfaction.
  2. We will work with key faculty and administrative leaders at FAU to evaluate and review how institutional policies impact recruitment, retention and advancement of women and URM faculty in STEM disciplines.
  3. We will consult with and visit other ADVANCE awardee institutions to learn from their experiences of implementing ADVANCE best practices, especially in regards to (a) mentoring programs, (b) revision of recruitment, promotion, and work-family policies, and (c) other professional development initiatives.
  4. We will begin contextualized implementation of chosen pilot best practices at FAU, in consultation with faculty and administrators. In this regard, we have already identified existing practices and initiatives at FAU that align with ADVANCE principles that we can build upon. 
  5. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the best practices implemented using a mixed method approach that will include: (a) initiating and tracking the changes in institutional policies and numbers of professional development programs available to STEM faculty at FAU, (b) monitoring trends in recruitment, retention and promotion of female and URM faculty in STEM fields at FAU, and (c) periodic re-surveying of faculty climate and career satisfaction.


 Last Modified 2/10/17