Conference Description

Seeking Solutions:

Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia

June 7-8, 2012

National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20418


While progress has recently been made to increase the representation of women in science, engineering and medicine disciplines in academia, the success observed among Caucasian women is often not extended to underrepresented minority women faculty. To maximize the pool of talent that exists in the United States, it is imperative to critically examine the current data, facilitate discussions about the barriers and examine promising programs that successfully increase the representation of women of color in academia. Through these discussions among key stakeholders and policymakers, strategies for institutional transformation can be formed and implemented to ensure that women of all races and ethnicities are equally represented in the academic workforce.

In response to a request from the National Science Foundation, an ad hoc Committee on Advancing Institutional Transformation for Women of Color in Academia was formed to organize and conduct a public conference to review the existing research on the academic career patterns for minority women in science, engineering, and medicine. The conference focused on model practices and programs that recruit, retain, and advance women of color with a recognition that not all programs may work effectively for different ethnic and racial groups. The conference agenda was based on:

  • A systemic review of relevant research literature to enhance understanding of the barriers and challenges to the full participation of all minority women in STEM disciplines and academic careers
  • Identification of reliable and credible data sources and data gaps in order to better understand the critical transitions where women of color are lost
  • Identification of the key aspects of exemplary policies and programs that are effective in enhancing minority women’s participation in faculty ranks.