Category Archives: WISEblog

The WISEblog category is for communications relating to general topics of interest or concern to WISE members. Campus and community issues of concern can also be posted here, like work-life balance, childcare, and career-path discussion.

Tips and Best Practices from the Michigan Tech Diversity Literacy Online Workshop

Thank you to Michigan Tech’s Patricia Sotirin and Sonia Goltz for permssion to post this list from the 2014 Diversity Literacy Online Workshop

Diversity Literacy Workshop:  Best Practices

Unintentional Bias

  1. Recognize the influence of stress and time pressures on decision‐making processes. If possible, schedule selection and advancement processes with an eye to minimizing semester and professional demands on committee members and provide a generous window of time for committees to deliberate.
  2. Establish decision criteria related to position requirements and professional qualifications before reviewing candidate applications.
  3. Encourage selection and advancement committees to seek additional information in order to clarify ambiguous priorities, criteria, and information. At the same time, be careful to apply the same criteria and requirements for all candidates.
  4. Identify and focus on specific position criteria rather than discussing a broader and more general sense of “fit” with the department.

Selection Bias

  1. Avoid evaluations based on inferences that may mask subtle biases. In particular, do not make offer decisions based on what the committee assumes or suspects about the candidate’s motives, preferences, or likely actions.
  2. Clarify whether gendered assumptions about roles or positions are evident and strive to compare candidates on the basis of actual accomplishments and qualifications. This is particularly important in assessing leadership and professional potential.
  3. Use a structured interview schedule for each candidate interview. If additional questions are asked of a particular candidate, these should be noted so that the committee can decide how or whether the additional information is useful and comparable to information available for other candidates.
  4. Word position announcements using gender neutral language and identify both mainstream and population‐specific venues for placing the announcement in order to ensure a pool with at least 25% minority and female candidates.
  5. Question vague, evaluative comments made by committee members to find out what specific issues or concerns underlie such comments. Vague feelings and suspicions, anecdotal information, and interpretations based on perceptions should be explored so that these comments can either be substantiated or reconsidered.

Advancement Bias

  1. Set up specific standards for advancement progress and assess all faculty periodically for advancement potential based on non‐subjective criteria (number of courses taught, cumulative teaching scores, number of publications, grant levels, etc.).
  2. Be vigilant about identifying and minimizing unconscious bias in advancement decision‐making processes. Provide P&T committees with time and information and encourage members to avoid distractions and focus on predetermined advancement‐relevant criteria.
  3. Assess the subtle accumulation of disadvantages across all faculty periodically. Pay attention to systematic differences among groups of faculty such as salary, space, research resources, teaching assignments, awards, and committee assignments.

From the NY Times: Women at work subject to more, and harsher, criticism

From the New York Times, September 27, 2014:

A NEW study by the linguist and tech entrepreneur Kieran Snyder, done for Fortune.com, found two differences between workplace performance reviews given to men and women. Across 248 reviews from 28 companies, managers, whether male or female, gave female employees more negative feedback than they gave male employees. Second, 76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was “abrasive,” “judgmental” or “strident.” Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.

For the whole article, see the New York Times website.

Volunteers Needed for Get WISE Event

The Center for Pre-College Outreach is looking for about 25 female volunteers to help out at “Get WISE,” an event seeking to raise women’s interest in science and engineering.  Although not sponsored by the Michigan Tech Women in Science and Engineering group (the source of this blog), it is a worthy event that we endorse! The event will be held on Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Volunteers or anyone looking for more information can email dwalsh@mtu.edu.

Nancy Auer’s Sturgeon Book Among Michigan’s Most Notable for 2014

The Library of Michigan has chosen WISE member Professor Nancy Auer’s book “The Great Lake Sturgeon,” coedited with Dave Dempsey, as one of the 2014 Michigan Notable Books.

Twenty books made the list, ranging from Jim Harrison’s “The River Swimmer” to a pie cookbook to a collection of Upper Peninsula poems and stories.

See the whole article in Tech Today on 8 January 2014.  Way to go Nancy!

New Michigan Tech Publication Examines Gender Balance Issues

Beyond the Glass Ceiling is a new student-edited feminist publication at Michigan Tech where writers can examine gender balance issues.  As reported in Michigan Tech News:

Beyond the Glass Ceiling is the successor to the former TechnoBabe Times, a publication largely housed in the humanities department a decade ago. Graduate student Katie Snyder wanted to revive the tradition, with encouragement from faculty, leading to the new publication.

Visit the Michigan Tech News story for more information or go to their Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beyond-The-Glass-Ceiling-Mich-Tech-Newspaper/216829025108704

Glime Receives Hattori Prize for Bryology Masterwork

The International Association of Bryologists has awarded its Hattori Prize to Janice Glime, professor emerita of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, for her online encyclopedia, “Bryophyte Ecology.”

The Hattori Prize recognizes the best paper or series of papers published by a member of the association within the previous two years.

Glime has completed two volumes on this group of diminutive plants that includes mosses, liverworts and hornworts: “Physiological Ecology” and “Bryological Interaction.” A portion of the third (“Methods”) is available online, and she has at least two more volumes pending.

“Bryophyte Ecology” is read worldwide both as a text and reference. While scientifically rigorous, it is written in a conversational style. “I hope to make bryology more accessible to students who have no mentor in the field and to stimulate interest among ecologists, naturalists and educators,” Glime said. “A book such as this is dependent on scientists in many fields, all over the world.”

Glime originally conceived of “Bryophyte Ecology” as a textbook, back in the 1990s. But as bryology advanced by leaps and bounds, she was never able to finish so much as a chapter. Then the Internet came into its own, and the project shifted. In 2007, she began uploading chapters to www.bryoecol.mtu.edu. Her masterwork has two major advantages over a print edition: it offers unlimited color photography, and mistakes are easy to fix, thanks to friendly input from her fellow bryologists and other experts.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic responses, however, have come from bryologists from as far flung as China and Bulgaria, who have thanked her profusely for making such a vast trove of knowledge available.

“Dr. Glime, I think you are one of the most generous and collegial scientists I have (not!) met,” wrote a Canadian bryologist. “You are really an inspiration . . . All my students are thrilled with your online book, and I am, simply, in awe. Thank you.”

It couldn’t be done without a lot of help, Glime stresses. “The Internet and Google have made possible what could not have been done 20 years ago,” she said. “Some of the researchers and photographers have gone the second mile to help me find images and literature. Some have taken pictures for me. Some have offered to review a chapter when it was completed—especially some of the zoologists. And some have even done fieldwork to enhance the information in a particular area. Many have sent me unsolicited pictures and references. I couldn’t have found a better retirement project.”

Glime retired in 2008 after 35 years on the Michigan Tech faculty. She received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994 and in 2009 was given the Distinguished Service Award for her longtime dedication to the University Senate and to student success.

by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor
Published in Tech Today

Ada Lovelace Day Event Details

Ada Lovelace Day was started in the UK three years ago to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Ada Lovelace herself wrote one of the first computer programs, and her legacy serves as a reminder that most STEM fields would not be where they are today without the insights of many (often overlooked) women. The goal of this annual celebration is to demonstrate to women and girls why their efforts are so critical to the advancement of STEM disciplines.

2012 marks the first annual Ada Lovelace Day celebrated at Michigan Tech. We have two main events planned (both are FREE and open to the public):

Tuesday, October 17th, 7pm to 8:30pm in Fisher 139:

Professor Martha Sloan (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Tech alumnae Mary Long and Dr. Michelle Jarvie Eggart will discuss their motivations and aspirations as women working in STEM.

Speaker biographies:

Professor Martha Sloan: Martha Sloan received a BS in Electrical Engineering with great distinction, an MS in Electrical Engineering, and a PhD in Education from Stanford University. After two years of working at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, in Palo Alto, California, Sloan joined the faculty of Michigan Tech, where she is now a professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Sloan is the author of three textbooks and more than sixty papers. She is a fellow of the ACM, the IEEE, and SWE and has received numerous awards, including the SWE Distinguished Engineering Educator Award, an IEEE Centennial Medal, the Richard E. Merwin Award, and the ASEE Outstanding Young Electrical Engineering Educator Award. She has been active in engineering professional societies, having served as treasurer, vice president, and president of the IEEE Computer Society, IEEE, and AAES. She served for nine years on the board of trustees of SWE.

Mary Long: Mary Long is an engineer/project manager at Black & Veatch, with a strong background in Program and Construction Management. Her education includes BS and MS degrees in Environmental Engineering and BS in Business Administration as well, all from MTU; and she is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio. Her work has mainly focused on wastewater and wet weather treatment projects until recently changing from the Water Division of B&V to Telecom to serve as the Decommissioning Market Manager for Sprint’s Network Vision Program.

Dr. Michelle Jarvie Eggart: Dr. Michelle Jarvie Eggart is an environmental engineer/project manager at Barr engineering and adjunct faculty at University of Maryland University College. She works primarily on sustainability and environmental compliance issues surrounding water and wastewater for mining and other industrial clients. She received her Ph.D, in environmental engineering from Michigan Tech and is a registered professional engineer in the states of Oregon and Michigan.

Wednesday, October 18th, 8pm to 9:30pm in Fisher 135:

A screening of the documentary “The Gender Chip Project”, with a following panel discussion. Members of the panel include Mary Long, Professor Laura Brown (Computer Science), Graduate Student Kaitlyn Bunker (Electrical Engineering), Professor Sarah Green (Chemistry), Professor Nina Mahmoudian (Mechanical Engineering), and Professor Patty Sotirin (Humanities).

Panelist biographies:

Mary Long (see above)

Professor Laura Brown: Dr. Brown received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics from Vanderbilt University in 2009. Her research interests include: Algorithms for learning the structure of Bayesian networks; Local causal discovery methods for identification of parents and children or Markov Blankets; and Methods for variable selection on high-dimensional data sets.

Kaitlyn Bunker: Ms. Bunker is working on her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering; she received her M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2012, and received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2010. She has intern experience with Commonwealth Associates, Inc., and General Motors Powertrain. She is currently the President of the Society for Women Engineers at Michigan Tech.

Professor Sarah Green: Dr. Green received her Ph.D. from MIT. Her research interests include: Origin and fate of DOC in terrestrial, lake, and marine environments; methods for detection of free radicals, photochemical transformations of natural and anthropogenic organic compounds in the environment; oxidative degradation reactions; response of aquatic systems to climate change; effects of electrostatic charge and ionic strength on fast reaction kinetics; behavior of metal contaminated sediments in the Lake Superior basin; fluorescence-based analytical methods; integration of biological, geological, physical, and chemical data for understanding global cycles.

Professor Nina Mahmoudian: Dr. Mahmoudian’s general research interests lie in the area of dynamics, stability, and control of nonlinear systems. Specifically, she is interested in dynamic modeling, motion planning, and developing cooperative control algorithms to autonomous vehicles. Design and control of autonomous vehicles based on the principles used by nature is another area of interest.  She works on developing analytical and computational tools for the cooperative control of a network of autonomous vehicles in complex environment using nonlinear control and stochastic analysis. The application will be for air, ground, and sea autonomous vehicles.

Professor Patty Sotirin: Professor Sotirin’s research involves critical-interpretive approaches to issues of culture, relationality, and gender. Her work draws on discursive theories of communication, critical management studies, cultural studies, feminist theories and qualitative methodologies. She is Editor of Women and Language and co-author with Laura Ellingson of Aunting: Cultural Practices that Sustain Family and Community Life.

Professor Audrey Mayer (almayer[at]mtu.edu) can be reached for questions and further information. Hope to see you there!

Gender Bias Established Through Rigorous Research

This is a very interesting article that backs up what Valian said in “Why So Slow.”  The methods of this Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper are particularly rigorous.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/14/1211286109

To quote the paper:

“Our results revealed that both male and female faculty judged a female student to be less competent and less worthy of being hired than an identical male student, and also offered her a smaller starting salary and less career mentoring.”

Thank you Audrey Mayer for bringing this to our attention.