Tag: Campus Climate

ADVANCE PowerPlay Workshop

Speaking Up: How Department Leaders Can Change the Conversation in the Academic Workplace

Have you ever asked yourself “Why didn’t I say something?” when a friend or colleague said or did something that was biased or uncivil at work? You’re not alone. Deciding whether and how to respond to these moments is complicated. Yet navigating these situations effectively is crucial for academic leaders—including department chairs—who are responsible for creating a respectful climate and culture for everyone in their units.

Limited to just 50 attendees, this dynamic and interactive workshop will teach you what motivates individuals to speak up, the challenges people face when doing so, and strategies for responding that invite self-reflection and constructive dialogue. Attendees will then be invited to apply these strategies directly to resolving everyday incidents of incivility and bias that frequently occur among faculty and staff in the academic workplace.

The discussion will focus on academic leaders’ role in changing the conversation to promote inclusive and respectful workplaces. A team of experienced co-facilitators and professional actors will support active discussion and learning to reinforce using these skills beyond the workshop.

Join us Tuesday, October 4, 2022 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 3 – 6 p.m. EST

RSVP: https://bit.ly/3U4eHT1

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Aligning our behaviors, systems, and practices with our values to create climates that cultivate high social belonging

The climate or community that we create within our classroom and within our academic units can profoundly impact how individuals perform within those settings.  This recent study in the Journal of Chemical Education determined that students’ social belonging in a general chemistry course could predict academic performance in that course. Social belonging included both an absolute sense of belonging and an uncertainty with that belonging. Further, that social belonging differed across demographics (gender was a strong difference). High sense of social belonging correlates with positive perceptions of climate, which is also true at the faculty and staff levels.

This recent article notes that “culture is often referred to as “the way things are done around here.” The article further notes that behaviors, systems, and practices – the three elements of culture – are all guided by an overarching set of values. It can be valuable to remember that individuals are drawn to espoused values when selecting an institution; when behaviors, systems, and practices do not align with espoused values, those individuals do not perceive a high sense of social belonging and will select themselves out.  Thus, for us to retain our diverse talent at the student, faculty and staff levels, we can each carefully reflect upon, and change, our behaviors, systems, and practices to be consistent with our values.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Roundup: Institutional Ideas for Responding to Faculty Exhaustion and Demoralization

Although the early years of the pandemic are behind us, and we are beginning to adjust to a “new normal” in our classrooms, labs, and professional activities, faculty continue to report feeling exhausted and over-stressed. Two recent essays in Inside Higher Ed suggest unique institutional responses: a “Chapter 11” work relief declaration and a return to values and workload equity redesign. The Chapter 11 suggestion was made by an anonymous faculty caregiver overwhelmed by unrelenting teaching and academic demands that she could not fulfill following an official two-week hiatus necessitated by her child’s health crisis. This was not simply a personal problem; she argues that faculty are “like lemmings walking off a cliff of overwork” with the requirements for career advancement ever-increasing, an expansion of committee and administrative tasks, and constant pivots, instructional up-dates, and altered expectations for teaching. The author proposes a “Chapter 11” for faculty that would allow overwhelmed colleagues to step away from some of these responsibilities. Too often, we just watch each other struggle. 

In the other article, Doug Lederman describes a state of faculty “demoralization” characterized by detachment, cynicism, and dissatisfaction, provoked by a discrepancy between espoused values like equity, care, and deep learning and enacted values that tend more to system preservation and economic goals. Added to this is the realization that a faculty career is changing given current and future constraints—less job security, more surveillance and accountability, diminished institutional flexibility, a paucity of faculty resources. Instead, a mythic ideal is upheld as a standard for faculty performance requiring constant availability, unquestioning loyalty, no caregiving distractions, and bodies that never falter.

There is considerable evidence that experiences of exhaustion and demoralization often jeopardize the progress of women caregivers in STEM, especially those with children (see, for example, these two recent publications–”Preventing a Secondary Epidemic of Lost Scientists” and “Voices of Untenured Female Professors in STEM”). Lederman argues that these issues impact recruitment and retention, undermining institutional goals of faculty equity and diversity and points out that campus culture has a critical impact on institutional competitiveness both for talent and institutional reputation. He urges university leadership to gather data on workplace conditions (note the ADVANCE AFEQT tool), measure workload inequities, update systems of reward and accountability, and reconfigure administrative systems to uphold core cultural values. We hope that innovative responses like a faculty “Chapter 11” or institutional reconfigurations around deep values can catalyze a shift in the culture of academe toward more humane priorities and an institutional redesign that is more inclusively responsive.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Dr. Jennifer Slack (IPEC, Humanities) and the ADVANCE PI team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Women do a majority of office ‘housework’; Women of Color do a majority of DEI in Tech and Engineering

This article compares workload distributions among faculty in Tech and Engineering. It documents that women do more of the work to keep things running smoothly, often referred to as office “housework.” Such work rarely earns formal credit or recognition. In technology fields, women of color report that they are asked to lead HR or DEI efforts they were not originally hired to conduct, yet this work isn’t compensated or recognized as promotion-worthy. This has been termed the “minority tax.”

Further, in the report from the Center for WorkLife Law & Society of Women Engineers, women of color more strongly than White women report being shut out of creative work without access to desirable assignments. In Engineering, the authors found that 26% of White men but 55% of women of color report doing more of the undervalued work than their colleagues of comparable seniority and experience. In addition, 61% of White men, but less than half of women of color, report they were more likely than their peers to be assigned to high-profile tasks or teams.

Navigating the minority tax makes workplace climates challenging because speaking up about the workload distribution often induces racial and gender stereotypes around ‘being difficult.’ Increasing awareness of these tendencies can empower colleagues to consciously work to create more equitable workloads ranging from DEI efforts to office tasks. Please feel free to seek guidance and just in time strategies from the ADVANCE Advocates Team.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PIs. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: When All Faculty Do DEIS Work

A common problem on college campuses is that the people who most often choose to participate in workshops, trainings, committees, mentorships and other programs aimed at improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging (DEIS) are those same people that are already committed to such efforts. So, participants can feel they’re in an echo chamber, while those who know the least about campus inequalities, how they play out, how they themselves might be contributing to problems, or how to improve inclusion are the least likely to participate. Recognizing that DEIS impacts all of us and is everyone’s responsibility, some universities are beginning to require that all faculty contribute to DEIS in some capacity.

As described in this article, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana recently announced they will require all faculty members to submit statements on diversity contributions in promotion and tenure decisions. The goals are to provide a clear place for recognizing DEIS work in the promotion and tenure process and to incentivize faculty across campus to contribute to campus diversity efforts in some way. The various ways faculty might contribute are flexible: through teaching, research, or service, in order to make academia more welcoming, inclusive, and supportive of all students, faculty, and staff. How might Michigan Tech recognize and incentivize faculty efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging?

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Advocates and Allies Advisory Board. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Departmental Climate Has High-Impact for DEIS

A recent article in Science magazine, “Michigan’s Surprising Path to Diversity,” highlights the success of the Applied Physics Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan in recruiting and graduating underrepresented students. As much as one-third of the program’s entering cohort are Black, Latino, or Native American students, compared with 5% nationally, and women comprise one-third of the typical graduating class. Success starts by removing barriers, such as reconceptualizing the vision of the ideal graduate student among faculty, empowering staff to serve, and creating a family-like climate. Roy Clark, founding program director, states that “we make it clear that we expect people who come here to succeed,” and the program promotes excellent teaching among research faculty. The interdisciplinary program also helps to connect multiple areas of study, which appeals to underrepresented students. For example, the Imes-Moore Bridge Program helps recruit, prepare, and sustain cohorts of underrepresented students to the program. Model programs such as this one can inspire new ways of structuring our own PhD programs for student success.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Advocates Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

When Bad Behavior Becomes Sexual Harassment

by Institutional Equity

Sexual harassment is no joke. This topic is no longer off-limits, and allegations are being taken more seriously than ever before. But when does behavior cross from bad to unprofessional to sexual harassment? Is sexual harassment only egregious acts of physical touching or fondling? Does the behavior have to occur more than once before it becomes sexual harassment?

So often, recipients of sexual harassment talk themselves into believing it’s not a big deal with thoughts like this:

  • “Don’t be so sensitive. It’s just a joke.”
  • “That is a really nice skirt. Can’t you take a compliment?”
  • “Is it really that bad if they’re looking at you? Who doesn’t like attention?”
  • “Why do they have to hug me? I guess that’s just what they do.”
  • “The comments are not directed toward me, so I should mind my own business.”

Jokes, comments and actions can be harmful. Don’t justify someone else’s actions. What matters is the impact of their actions. When someone else’s behavior affects you to the point that it interferes with your employment and programs associated with employment, that is the point at which the behavior needs to be addressed.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including verbal, physical, written and visual forms. Employees are encouraged to seek assistance as early as possible to prevent the harassment from continuing and possibly becoming more serious. Whether you are reporting harassment directed at yourself, another employee or a student, the key is to report the incident(s) so any harm can be remedied, the appropriate University personnel can respond and University procedures are followed.

Don’t suffer in silence. There are multiple resources, so choose the one that best meets your needs:

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Recommendations for LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Creating more inclusive academic communities and making equity and diversity hallmarks of campus culture are lofty goals. What are the actual practices that can make such goals concrete features of university life? A recent essay in CBE-Life Sciences Education makes the case that inclusivity requires thoughtful, proactive strategies. Specifically, the authors advance fourteen actionable recommendations for creating more inclusive academic relationships and environments for LGBTQ+ individuals in the life sciences. The recommendations provide strategies for inclusive practices in the classroom, on campus, in research spaces, and at conferences. They address issues of language, naming assumptions and alternatives, a variety of practical advocacy actions, teaching activities and materials, and research design and protocols. These recommendations are meant to stimulate further discussion, recognizing the ongoing need to adapt normative expectations and commonplace practices in order to create productive, inclusive academic spaces and communities.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Supporting Indigenous Students

As we work to diversify our student body, we need to reflect and adapt commonplace practices to be inclusive of the needs of students from different backgrounds. Today’s Roundup features a study of stresses related to self-beliefs, ethnic identity, and cultural congruency experienced by Native American undergraduates and how we might adapt to better support these students.  Among the changes suggested to better support these students are increased access to advising, mentoring by older students, and encouraging joining clubs and other social groups. In the classroom, we can support Native American students by creating improved cultural understanding, a collaborative learning environment, and a communal rather than competitive environment in which students are evaluated on information mastery rather than relative grading dependent upon peer performance. This shift to a “learning community” benefits all students and reduces feelings of isolation and stress, which leads to better outcomes for everyone.

Today’s feature was shared with us by ADVANCE PI Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Foundational Strategies to Create Equitable Systems for Faculty

As pandemic effects continue, fostering equitable climates to retain high quality faculty and staff is more important than ever.  The UMass ADVANCE team outlines four foundational strategies: communication, resources, flexibility, and adapting equity-informed strategies. Meaningful communicative interactions and supportive resources are critical to faculty and staff job satisfaction.  In addition, flexible policies and practices remain key through these challenging times, especially those that address pandemic circumstances and impacts with equity-informed strategies. One key equity-informed strategy for TPR committees can be summed up as “Do not let the 25 percent of faculty able to be more productive during the global pandemic set the standard for the 75 percent who are not able to do so.” (University of Michigan Report).  These foundational strategies can help create a climate that benefits all through promoting the value of their contributions, and therefore helps to retain high quality faculty and staff.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PI team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.