Murray State ADVANCE


An ADVANCE Seminar will be held on Thursday January 31st, 2019 at 3:30pm in Faculty Hall 308.  Dr. Patricia Kelley will discuss "Women in Science: Dress Like a Lady, Act Like a Man, Work Like a Dog".  Dr. Kelley is a Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Although women make up half the total U.S. workforce, only 28% of the science and engineering (S&E) workforce is female (Science and Engineering Indicators, 2018), despite improvements in recent years. Substantial differences in the proportion of women exist among S&E fields, with the fewest women represented in the physical sciences and engineering. S&E unemployment rates are highest for underrepresented minority women, who face multiple threats of discrimination (“intersectionality”). Failure to recruit and retain females occurs at several points in the “pipeline,” with losses documented between 4th and 8th grade, on entering college, between successive degrees (BS, MS, PhD), and on entering the workforce.  A host of factors impede female recruitment and retention, including disproportionate family commitments, salary disparities, and a culture of negative stereotypes, explicit and implicit biases, and hostilities.  These factors can be overcome by deliberate measures to eliminate threats and attract and retain, rather than discourage, females from pre-K years onward. For example, the presence of role models, mentoring, and networking opportunities can encourage women to continue in science. Workplace policies and environments that prevent explicit and implicit bias, discrimination, and harassment based on gender are paramount. With cultural change, women will not need to “look like a lady, act like a man, and work like a dog” to succeed in science.

ADVANCE 2017 Climate Study Recommendations

The ADVANCE PIs have made the following recommendations to Murray State based on the 2017
Climate Study:

  • Improve perception that work/life balance is a priority at Murray State.
  • Provide childcare facility for employees.
  • Develop faculty support network by institutionalizing the mentoring circles through the
    Faculty Development Center.
  • Assess workload expectations, particularly regarding teaching and service.
  • Increase salaries to be comparable to peer institutions and establish mechanism for annual
  • Introduce optional bias training with a view to improving recruitment activities, and tenure
    & promotion processes.
  • Increase exposure to policies about extension of the probationary period (see Faculty

The report is available here.

Differences and Deficits Affecting Women STEM Faculty: Creating a Framework for Change at a Rural Public University

Murray State University provides a unique opportunity to examine how structural and cultural differences associated with a historically rural agrarian area may impact the recruitment, retention and promotion of women faculty in STEM and SBES disciplines. It has been a challenge to recruit and retain female faculty and students in STEM at Murray State. We hypothesize that deficit and difference factors manifest differently at a rural public institution. We will conduct a survey of all faculty and interviews of selected female faculty members, review existing institutional data and policies, conduct site-visits to other ADVANCE institutions, invite external speakers to campus to inform and educate the administration and faculty, and conduct mentoring circles to support our junior STEM and SBES women faculty.

ADVANCE leaders

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Project Team

mccarthyDr. Maeve McCarthy, PI, is the Jesse D. Jones Professor of Mathematics. She will lead the program, coordinate speaker and site visits, and conduct some of the policy review. As the former Executive Director of the Association for Women in Mathematics, she is passionate about gender issues in STEM.


cobbDr. Steve Cobb, co-PI, is a Professor of Engineering and Physics. He is the former Dean of the Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology and is  uniquely positioned to disseminate information amongst administrators and to begin to develop plans to implement changes based on findings.


waddillDr. Paula Waddill, co-PI, is a Professor and Chair of Psychology. She will apply her unique expertise in quantitative research to the design, implementation, and analysis of the quantitative survey and the existing institutional data.


zhangDr. Robin Zhang, co-PI, is a Professor and Chair of Geosciences. She will conduct policy reviews with Dr. McCarthy and work with the PCDI to integrate elements of the projects into existing diversity initiatives.


wuDr. Echo Wu, co-PI, is an Assistant Professor of Education and the Director of the Center for Gifted Studies. Her experience as an interviewer and her interest in STEM learning makes her uniquely qualified for our project to conduct the preliminary interviews and analyze the data that will be used to formulate our quantitative survey questions.


fullerDr. Claire Fuller, co-PI, is the Interim Dean of the Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology and a Professor of Biological Sciences. She will act as a liaison with Murray State administration as well as advocate for change based on findings.

Internal Advisory Board

  • Bob Jackson, President
  • Mark Arant, Provost
  • Renae Duncan, Associate Provost
  • Tim Todd, COB
  • Claire Fuller, JCSET
  • David Balthrop, CHFA
  • Tony Brannon, HSA
  • Ashley Ireland, LIB
  • Cami Duffy, IDEA
  • Kathy Farmer, Faculty Regent
  • Joyce Gordon, HR
  • Susana Bloomdahl, PCDI
  • Firm Faith Watson, FDC

External Advisory Board

  • Christine Grant, North Carolina State University
  • Joan Herbers, Ohio State University
  • Mary Anne Holmes, University of Nebraska Lincoln
  • Bobby Lee, WKCTC & Murray State Biology alumna
  • Lauren Schmidt Martin, Appriss & Murray State Math/CS alumna