Women are underrepresented in STEM disciplines despite widespread efforts to increase participation, creating an economic barrier as industry demand for STEM employees grows rapidly with advancing technology.
Even more apparent is the shortage of women in leadership roles in STEM fields. Many women in STEM disciplines continue to be dissuaded from lofty career goals when they encounter gender bias, discrimination and inequity, reporting that they find it challenging to navigate these adverse situations without derailing their careers.
The NAVIGATE Project aims to increase the number of women STEM graduates who persist in their chosen disciplines, and achieve leadership roles. It is an innovative training program that relies on Case Study Teaching Methods to increase the skills of STEM women to navigate effectively past instances of bias, inequity or discrimination in the workforce. All STEM fields supported by NSF are included in the program. In addition to the science and engineering disciplines, this includes the learning, social, behavioral, and economic sciences.
The NAVIGATE Project is supported by a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award in the Innovations of Graduate Education (IGE) Track, and is led by the University at Buffalo and California Polytechnic State University.
The case study method is a successful approach that is well developed in business, law and medicine, but has never been applied to this problem. This pilot project will test, for the first time, the effectiveness of the case study method for training women graduate students on complex gender issues in STEM disciplines, and for developing students' skills to navigate around these issues. The training materials developed in NAVIGATE will be made readily available for use at any other institution/organization.