Skip navigation links


ADVANCE is initiative of the National Science Foundation. The program contributes to the NSF’s goal of promoting a diverse and capable science and engineering workforce within higher education. The funding acquired supports equity and inclusion of women in STEM and mitigates the systemic factors that create inequities in academic workplaces.


Between 2008-2014, Michigan State University administered a $4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that funded the ADVANCE: Advancing Diversity Through Alignment of Policies and Practices (ADAPP) project to reduce the institutional barriers to increase the diversity of women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

As a result of ADVANCE ADAPP, MSU facilitated broad impact through the creation of a set appointments and resources to support the recruitment, retention and success of women faculty at various stages of their academic careers.


ADVANCE: Advancing Diversity Through Alignment of Policies and Practices (ADAPP)

ADVANCE ADAPP established the mechanisms for implementing transformational change by creating five robust toolkits to facilitate the efforts to increase the diversity of STEM. Another significant outcome of the project was the creation of Faculty Excellence Advocates, or FEAs, embedded in each college who, in addition to other equity practices, ensure the institution-wide distribution of the toolkits.

Through these efforts, ADAPP established the expectation that all members support these efforts as a shared educational responsibility.

Faculty Excellence Advocates (FEAs)

ADAPP is administered in partnership with the Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs and Faculty and Academic Staff Development through the appointments of Faculty Excellence Advocates (FEAs) in each college across the university with key leadership, education and advocacy duties.

FEAs play vital roles in the hiring, development and support of faculty and academic staff. In addition, they are uniquely positioned to influence the type of support and development opportunities that help academic careers flourish.

Five Toolkits

ADAPP created a comprehensive toolkit series for faculty and administrator related searches. The toolkit consisted of five widely available pdf resources to remove barriers and increase the diversity of faculty hires. These include:
Faculty search toolkit
Faculty guide for reappointment, promotion, and tenure review
Faculty Mentoring toolkit
Guidelines for graduate student mentoring and advising
Annual performance review toolkit

Beyond ADAPP

Building upon the foundations of ADAPP, MSU now seeks funding to create inclusive work cultures that ensure intersectional equity. 

MSU Today article

ADVANCE Partnership: STEM Intersectional Equity in Departments (SIEDS): A Partnership for Inclusive Work Cultures

Consistent with the initial success of ADAPP, MSU seeks to expand upon these foundations with an updated ADVANCE: STEM Intersectional Equity in Departments (SIEDS): A Partnership for Inclusive Work Cultures proposal in 2022-23 academic year in partnership with The Ohio State University and Wayne State University, to address barriers to intersectional equity and to create inclusive work cultures in STEM. 


The goal of SIEDS is to advance best practices in improving women and underrepresented minority faculty’s sense of belonging in STEM departments through an intersectional approach, adapting gender equity and evidence based systemic change strategies resulting in regional and national transformation of the workplace. 

Proposed Programs

The SIEDS proposal focuses on creating healthy and productive work cultures that attract and retain talent in STEM disciplines, focusing especially on women of color and other minorities who are additionally underrepresented. The strategy for evidence based systemic change is to create and implement a toolkit for creating an inclusive and equitable departmental culture. In addition, the toolkit will include a rubric for assessing work that contributes to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice within STEM disciplines, guidance on providing support across the faculty lifecycle with equitable workload allocation and leadership development to create more active and engaged supporters for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM. 

The project will be intersectional, responding to the conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the heightened awareness of violence against unarmed people of color and the subsequent racial reckoning occurring across the United States.

Teresa K. Woodruff, Principal Investigator
Interim President
Michigan State University 

Melissa Gilliam, Principal Investigator
Executive Vice President and Provost
The Ohio State University 

Mark Kornbluh, Principal Investigator
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Wayne State University  

Stephanie Nawyn, Co-Principal Investigator
Director, Center for Gender in Global Context, International Studies & Programs
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Social Science
Michigan State University 

Angela T. Hall, Co-Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, College of Social Science
Faculty Excellence Advocate, College of Social Science
Michigan State University 

Laura Bix, Co-Principal Investigator
Assistant Dean for Teaching, Learning and Academic Analytics, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Professor and Associate Director, School of Packaging
Michigan State University 

Wendy Smooth, Co-Principal Investigator
Senior Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, College of Arts & Sciences
The Ohio State University

Krista Brumley, Co-Principal Investigator
Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Associate Vice President of Academic Personnel
Wayne State University 

Boris Baltes, Co-Principal Investigator
Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs
Wayne State University  

Matthew M Piszczek, Co-Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor of Management, Mike Ilitch School of Business
Wayne State University 

Sharon Frances Lean, Co-Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Director of Graduate Programs
Wayne State University 

Rajalakshmi Nadadur, Key personnel
Assistant Director, Center for Gender in Global Context, International Studies & Programs
Michigan State University

Mary Anne Walker, Key personnel
Center for Gender in Global Context, International Studies & Programs; Institute for Global Health, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Nicole Nieto, Key personnel
Assistant Vice Provost,  Office of Outreach & Engagement
The Ohio State University 

Nicole Gerring, Key personnel
Project Coordinator, Gender Equity Advances Retention in STEM
Wayne State University 

For more information email Rajalakshmi Nadadur,