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The Women's Place partners on NSF grant for male Advocates & Allies program

Ohio State, through The Women's Place, has been named a partner in North Dakota State University's (NDSU) Advocates & Allies program, which recently received a National Science Foundation grant. The mission of Advocates & Allies is to introduce male faculty and staff to skills and strategies for bringing about positive change in their departments and colleges and use that knowledge to build a supportive network of male allies for women faculty and staff.

GraphicTo bring men further into the gender equity coalition at Ohio State, The Women's Place along with the College of Engineering, Ohio State ADVANCE (formerly Gender Initiatives in STEMM), and Dr. Joan Herbers, professor and principal investigator of Project CEOS, have partnered on the NSF grant entitled Advocates and Allies for the Advancement of Women Faculty. The grant will bring North Dakota State University's successful Advocates and Allies facilitation program to Ohio State.

Developed over the last six years by NDSU as part of its NSF ADVANCE FORWARD initiative, the Advocates & Allies program is designed to help transform the climate of the institution by enhancing men’s engagement in gender equity work. With the new grant, NDSU will expand this program to institutional partners and study its effect on the climate at these institutions as well as at NDSU. The institutional partners are The Ohio State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of North Texas and University of Wyoming.

The four-year program is based on an innovative approach designed to involve male faculty and staff intentionally in the transformation of departmental cultures and practices. Advocates recruit and train other male faculty and staff as Allies, and they work together to increase their knowledge about topics such as unconscious bias and male privilege. Advocates and Allies are instrumental in gaining institution-wide support for policies and practices that further the goal of gender equity.

Ohio State will begin work on the Advocates & Allies program October 2015. The goals of the grant are to:

  • Create an Ohio State Advocates and Allies Advisory Council consisting primarily of female faculty and staff to support the Advocates.
  • Host the NDSU training group at Ohio State for a gender equity train-the-trainer session. NDSU will return periodically for support and evaluation.
  • Develop a customized program for Ohio State; ideally a few senior male faculty and staff (Advocates) drawn from the broader campus community will design and run the trainings, workshops and conversations with other male faculty and staff who become Allies in their respective departments.
  • Work with NDSU on the research and evaluation components of the project.
  • Institutionalize the program during the fourth and final year of the grant.

The Women's Place will serve as the home of the initiative and will coordinate its broad institutionalization. The following Ohio State team will administer the program: Jennifer Beard, director of The Women's Place, will coordinate the institutionalization committee; Hazel Morrow-Jones, professor emerita and former director of The Women's Place, is the co-principal investigator and she and David Williams, dean of the College of Engineering, will serve on the Steering Committee; Rudolph Buchheit, professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs and Administration in the College of Engineering, will serve as the Ohio State advocates coordinator; and Joan Herbers, professor, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, and Mary Juhas, associate vice president for Ohio State ADVANCE (formerly Gender Initiatives in STEMM), will co-chair the Women's Advisory Group. Herbers and Juhas were part of the management structure of Project Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State (CEOS), acting as principal investigator and co-investigator, respectively.

The program will advance current work of four university offices on engaging male colleagues in institutional transformation. It will build on an ongoing initiative, White Men as Full Diversity Partners, which The Women’s Place initiated with three Ohio State white male deans to help white men on campus understand the concept of privilege and how academic experiences of people who are not white men are different. The deans are David Williams, College of Engineering; David Manderscheid, College of Arts and Sciences; and Bruce McPheron, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Science. Twenty additional Ohio State white male leaders, deans, vice presidents and directors, are also involved in this initiative.

The Advocates & Allies program will also build on Ohio State’s existing NSF ADVANCE grant, Project CEOS, and its efforts with deans and chairs. Project CEOS has been institutionalized on campus through the office of Gender Initiatives in STEMM (GI-STEMM) renamed Ohio State ADVANCE, which works extensively to recruit women in the STEMM disciplines. In addition, it will build on work of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) to increase understanding between diverse subgroups of the campus community. In collaboration with The Women’s Place and Ohio State ADVANCE, ODI implements the Inclusive Excellence search committee training in an effort to diversify faculty.

The Women’s Place laid the groundwork for the Advocates & Allies program by bringing these four offices and three colleges plus six additional offices/centers and regional campuses together to form Ohio State’s Implicit Bias Collaborative. The collaborative sponsored activities and programs to raise awareness of the unconscious attitudes we all have, that may affect our behaviors in ways we do not want. The Advocates & Allies program will further university-wide efforts to understand and counteract privilege and bias at Ohio State.

Learn more about NDSU's program:

Male Allies Moving the Gender Equity Needle webinar from WEPAN

Activating Advocates and Allies for Gender Equity: Engaging with Male Colleagues paper by Cali Anicha, Canan Bilen-Green, Ann Burnett, Christi McGeorge at North Dakota State University

Engaging Male Faculty in Institutional Transformation paper by Cali Anicha, Canan Bilen-Green, Ann Burnett, Christi McGeorge, Roger A. Green at North Dakota State University