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K-State Today

September 16, 2011



New provost-level initiative continues work on increasing participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

By Ruth Dyer

Kansas State University is establishing the K-State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering, or KAWSE. This program brings together functions of two previous programs: K-State ADVANCE and the Women in Engineering and Science Program. ADVANCE was funded by the National Science Foundation and focused on promoting the careers of women faculty members in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The Women in Engineering and Science Program was an initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering that aimed to recruit and retain women students in these fields. 

The new office, which will report to the provost, has a mission of promoting the full participation of women students and faculty in science and engineering. It will build on and expand the existing ADVANCE, women in engineering and science program, GROW - Girls Researching Our World - and EXCITE - EXploring sCIence, Technology, and Engineering - programs and bring precollege outreach, undergraduate retention, graduate and postdoctoral support, and faculty advancement programs into one centralized office.

The K-State Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering Office will partner with other university programs serving students from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences and engineering and create new programming for women graduate and postdoctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“In cooperation with many of our academic colleges, I am pleased to support this important office to advance women in the STEM disciplines," said April Mason, K-State provost and senior vice president.

Dana Britton, professor of sociology, will serve as the executive director of the K-State Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering. She previously served in the same role for the NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Program. She will report to Ruth Dyer, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

”We are very excited about the opportunity to blend into one central office a number of K-State programs that have focused on enhancing the success of women faculty members and students in the STEM disciplines and to develop new initiatives to serve additional groups of women scientists and engineers," Dyer said. "We are happy that Dr. Britton will continue to lead our expanded efforts and are very glad to welcome to the KAWSE office Yasché Glass, whose background in student programming makes her a great fit as office coordinator. “

The office will build on the successes of the women in science and engineering and ADVANCE programs, and serve as a resource for administrators, faculty members, staff, students and others interested in the full participation of women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The K-State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering hopes to play an integral part in helping the university achieve its strategic goals – recently announced as part of the K-State 2025 initiative – of fostering excellence in research, graduate and undergraduate education, outreach to the community, and the creation of a work environment for our faculty that embraces diversity, values communication and collaboration, and is respectful, fair and collegial.