Advancing Women in Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan


May 26, 2005


Abigail Stewart


University of Michigan


I will focus on the Institutional Transformation program at the University of Michigan, which aims to improve the work environment for women faculty in science and engineering. I will outline the nature of the issues facing us, the approaches we have used to address the issues, and some key successes. This will include a focus on (1) understanding the nature of the problem; (2) influencing recruitment; (3) changing the climate, including interventions at the institutional, departmental and individual level; and (4) altering policies that affect the climate. In each area, I will outline specific practices that have had beneficial effects.

These pilots and findings should have application to industry as well as academia – we will be able to discuss how some of our strategies might work in other settings, as well as some strategies that have been tried in other settings that we might learn from!


Abigail Stewart

Abigail Stewart is Agnes Inglis Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan and director of the UM ADVANCE project, supported by the NSF ADVANCE program on Institutional Transformation. She is former director of the Women’s Studies Program (1989-95), of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (1995-2002), and former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Literature Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan (2002-2004).She was on the faculty at Boston University from 1975-1987, and was the founding director of the Henry A. Murray Research Center of Radcliffe College (1978-80). She holds degrees from Wesleyan University (B.A.), London School of Economics (M.Sc.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.). Her contributions to the University of Michigan have been recognized by many awards including (in 2000) the Henry Russel Lectureship, the highest honor the University offers to its faculty. She has received many external awards, including the Henry Murray Award (in personality psychology) and the Carolyn Wood Sherif Award (in psychology of women) from the American Psychological Association.Dr. Stewart has published over 100 scholarly articles and several books, focusing on the psychology of women’s lives, personality, and adaptation to personal and social changes. Her current research, which combines qualitative and quantitative methods, includes comparative analyses of longitudinal studies of educated women’s lives and personalities; a collaborative study of race, gender and generation in the graduates of a Midwest high school, and research and interventions on gender and science and technology with middle-school-age girls, undergraduate students, and faculty.