in 1992, and 4% (97) in 2004. A similar trend was seen for Latinos, who constituted 2.1% of the faculty in 1976, and 2% in 2004. In 2009, Rutgers employed only 50 Latinos, down from 63 in 1999. The numbers of women of color are even smaller, especially in the sciences. For the current academic year (2011-2012), a total of 15 African American women and 11 Latina women (respectively 6 and 4 % of the female faculty) are tenured/tenure tracked in STEM disciplines.
Rutgers SciWomen and NSF ADVANCE. In 2006, Rutgers University established the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (“SciWomen”). Two years after its creation, SciWomen was awarded an ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant from the National Science Foundation (RU FAIR ADVANCE). A major goal of the ADVANCE grant at Rutgers University has been to increase the number of women on the science, engineering, and mathematics faculty, with a special emphasis on women of color.
One mechanism used by the Rutgers ADVANCE program is the award of “mini grants.” In 2010, building on the Black Women Academics in the Ivory Tower conference previously held at Rutgers on March 5 and 6, 2009, Drs. Robyn Rodriguez (Sociology) and Zaire Dinzey-Flores Flores (Sociology & Latino and Hispanic and Caribbean Studies) applied for a mini-grant. They proposed a project specifically to serve women of color faculty at the University. Their initial vision was “to enhance the experience of women of color in academia and open institutional spaces supportive of women of color [by] … carv[ing] out a lasting intellectual space for women of color at Rutgers.”
RU FAIR ADVANCE awarded the mini grant and subsequently has supported a Women of Color Scholars Initiative (WoCSI) that employs various strategies including professional development training, mentoring workshops, social gatherings, and discussion-based meetings to help build a sense of community among women of color faculty, to reduce institutional seclusion and increase the retention of these faculty members. Since the RU FAIR ADVANCE grant began, there has been a 54% increase in the number of female faculty of color and a 19% increase in male faculty of color in STEM fields.
Rutgers Women of Color Scholars Initiative (WoCSI). Since its inception in 2010, the WoCSI initiative has been supported by funds from NSF ADVANCE and by staff from the SciWomen office, including director Natalie Batmanian and graduate assistant Crystal Bedley. The Initiative also has received guidance from Professor of Sociology Patricia Roos. The Rutgers Institute for Research on Women has provided administrative personnel, as well as securing space for events and assisting in the early coordination of programming to attract as many participants as possible. Finally, this past year, for the first time, the university’s central administration through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs has contributed funds to support programming.
In the initial year, WoCSI provided a research forum for women of color to showcase research; workshops including speakers and facilitators to guide discussions on topics such as institutional and disciplinary networking, identity at the academy, mentoring, promotion and tenure, etc.; and a focus group session to examine the experiences of women of color at Rutgers. An important outcome of the activities for this initial year was to create a resource center on the Rutgers’ Sakai site (an Internet repository and social media resource platform), where the group has been able to share insights in a comfortable, secure setting.