Murray State Advance

ADVANCE Adaptation: Leveling the Playing Field , Strategic Equity Initiatives at Murray State University 

In a continuation of our ADVANCE work, Murray State University adapted successful programs from institutions such as University of New Hampshire and University of Washington for use at MSU. Our 2017 2017 Climate Survey and 2022 Climate Survey indicate that there are challenges that women STEM faculty face. Through MSU-LEARN, we developed interactive theatre modules to address implicit bias in search, tenure and promotion processes. The search module is now required for search chairs. Through MSU-GROW, we developed programs to improve the retention and advancement of women faculty. We are particularly proud of our mentoring circles and writing retreat. We enhance work-life balance at MSU through MSU-LIVE strategies. The President’s Task Force on work-life balance led to the adoption of parental leave and flexible work policies. This $1 million initiative is supported by the National Science Foundation.

In 2023, we received a supplement to this award to further study underrepresented groups at Murray State University. This social science work consists of surveys, interviews, and focus groups. We are particularly interested in how the intersection of racial and ethnic minority status, LGBTQIA+ status, and disability status impacts women faculty.


Publication and Resources

  • McCarthy M, Balthrop D, Fuller C, Kemp R, Waddill P, Zhang Q. Differences and Deficits Affecting Women in STEM Faculty at Murray State University. Poster Presented at EMBO | EMBL | HHMI Conference: Gender Roles and their Impact in Academia; 2020 Oct 13-15; Virtual
  • McCarthy M, Balthrop D, Fuller C, Kemp R, Waddill P, Zhang Q. "Emotional Labor in Higher Education". 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase COVID, Equity, & Social Justice; 2021 May 11-18; Virtual. View presentation
  • McCarthy M, Balthrop D, Fuller C, Kemp R, Waddill P, Zhang Q. "Interactive Theatre Addresses Implicit Bias In University Search and Tenure Processes". YouTube. 2020 Oct 9. Watch video
  • McCarthy M, Balthrop D, Fuller C, Kemp R, Waddill P, Zhang Q. "Emotional Labor in Higher Education". YouTube. 2020 Nov 16. Watch video
  • McCarthy M, Balthrop D, Fuller C, Kemp R, Waddill P, Zhang Q. "Achieving work-life balance for women in higher education". YouTube. 2020 Oct 14. Watch video

Contact Us

Project Team

Dr. Maeve McCarthy

Dr. Maeve McCarthy

Assistant Dean, Professor of Mathematics
Jones College of Science, Engineering & Technology

203A I&T Building

Dr. Maeve McCarthy, Assistant Dean and Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, will serve as the Principal Investigator. She will lead the program, supervise the program coordinator and administrative assistant, and conduct some of the policy reviews. As the former Executive Director of the Association for Women in Mathematics, she is passionate about gender issues in STEM. Through her work as the former Chair of the MSU Insurance and Benefits Committee and PI of the MSU Catalyst grant, she has strong relationships with the MSU administration.

Dr. Michael Bordieri

Dr. Michael Bordieri

Associate Professor

401C Wells Hall

Dr. Michael Bordieri, Associate Professor of Psychology and co-PI, has specialized training in research design and statistical analyses. As a clinical psychologist, he has experience conducting research with marginalized communities. Dr. Bordieri will apply his expertise to the design, implementation, and analysis of the project’s mixed-method social science research agenda. As an officer in the Faculty Senate, Dr. Bordieri is also well-positioned to disseminate findings to the faculty and advocate for policy revisions and institutional change.

Dr. Claire Fuller

Dr. Claire Fuller

Dean, Professor of Biological Sciences
Jones College of Science, Engineering & Technology

201A I&T Building

Dr. Claire Fuller, co-PI, is the Dean of the Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology and a Professor of Biological Sciences. She served as a mentor circle facilitator and later co-PI on the MSU Catalyst grant. She brings extensive administrative experience to the project. She will be instrumental in advancing the changes identified as necessary by our project. Dr. Fuller is uniquely positioned to disseminate information amongst administrators and to begin to develop plans to implement changes based on findings.

Dr. Diane Nititham

Dr. Diane Nititham

Associate Professor

501B Faculty Hall

Dr. Diane Nititham, an Associate Professor of Sociology and a co-PI, is a qualitative sociologist specializing in ethnography. She has designed numerous protocols and conducted focus groups, individual and group semi-structured interviews, photo-voice interviews, workshops, and participant observations. Dr. Nititham will apply her expertise to the social science project, attending to the mixed-methods design and intersectional analysis. In her capacity as a Gender Equity Caucus Executive Team member and college DEI committees, she focuses on community-building and policy change for multiply-situated marginalized faculty, making her well-suited to share findings and advocate for minoritized faculty.

Dr. Robin Zhang

Dr. Robin Zhang

Chair, Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences

335 Blackburn

Dr. Robin Zhang, Chair and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, co-PI, led a subcommittee to study dual-career policies at other institutions and their possible adoption at MSU. She served as a co-PI on the MSU Catalyst grant. She will coordinate MSU-LIVE with the program coordinator.

Committees and Announcements

  • Bob Jackson, President
  • Tim Todd, Provost
  • Robert Pervine, Associate Provost
  • David Eaton, Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business
  • Claire Fuller, Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering & Technology
  • David Balthrop, College of Humanities & Fine Arts
  • Brian Parr, Hutson School of Agriculture
  • Ashley Ireland, University Libraries
  • Cami Duffy, Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Access
  • Courtney Hixon, Human Resources
  • Susana Bloomdahl, President's Commission on Diversity & Inclusion
  • Melony Shemberger, Faculty Regent
  • Alexandra Hendley, Gender Equity Caucus
  • Karen Graham, University of New Hampshire
  • Cristina VillalobosThe University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Joan Herbers, Ohio State University
  • Mary Anne Holmes, University of Nebraska Lincoln
  • Bobby Lee, West Kentucky Community & Technical College, Murray State Biology alumna
  • Lauren Schmidt Martin, Appriss, Murray State Math/CS alumna
  • Joyce Yen, University of Washington

ADVANCE 2022 Climate Study Recommendations

The ADVANCE PIs have made the following recommendations to Murray State based on the 2022 Climate Study:

  • Improve perception that work/life balance is a priority at Murray State.
  • Further develop faculty support network by institutionalizing the ADVANCE Mentoring Circles and other activities.
  • Continue to provide opportunities for leadership development for women faculty.
  • Revise/extend how service is counted in annual evaluation forms and Tenure & Promotion process.
  • Increase salaries to be comparable to peer institutions and establish mechanisms for annual increases.
  • Continue bias training and increase clarity in tenure & promotion processes.
  • Continue to improve recruitment activities for greater faculty diversity.
  • Increase exposure to policies about the extension of the probationary period (see Faculty Handbook).


2022 Climate Survey Summary


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