Kerry Karukstis (Harvey Mudd College, USA), Bridget Gourley (DePauw University, USA), Miriam Rossi (Vassar College, USA), Laura Wright (Furman University, USA)
Our NSF-ADVANCE project investigated an innovative approach to facilitate the advancement of senior women chemistry and physics faculty members at liberal arts institutions to the highest ranks of academic leadership. A major goal of this project was to enhance the leadership, visibility, and recognition of participating faculty members using an effective peer mentoring strategy. The mentoring strategy involved the establishment of five-member horizontal mentoring alliances of senior women chemistry and physics faculty members at liberal arts institutions. Each alliance engaged in discussions and workshops focused on career and leadership development. Specifically, we explored how our institutional structure and culture can profoundly influence the career challenges of academic women and how our mentoring strategy can operate particularly effectively for women from liberal arts colleges. The formation of these horizontal mentoring alliances had significant direct impact on the career development of the senior women participants and additionally developed a cohort of leaders of institutional change at the participants’ home institutions. A summit workshop was conducted in Washington, D.C. to disseminate our findings and generate recommendations for advancing the leadership and visibility of senior women scientists at liberal arts colleges. The range of professional and personal benefits cited by the participants in this career development initiative and the summit recommendations will be highlighted.