Bates selected for women and science project

Bates College is one of 10 colleges and universities competitively selected to participate in a three-year initiative designed to strengthen undergraduate science for women.

Bates was selected from a field of 76 applicants, each with a strong women’s studies program and an institutional commitment to improving the campus climate and curricular offerings for women in science.

Each selected institution has formed a campus team of six members guided by a team leader to facilitate the project. Math professor Bonnie Shulman leads the Bates faculty team composed of Pam Baker and Sharon Kinsman, biology; Elizabeth Tobin, history; Mark Semon, physics; and Georgia Nigro, psychology.

“It’s quite an honor,” Shulman said. “It was a nationwide competition and the award means that Bates will now be a leader in the movement to improve science education for women.”

Along with other participants, Bates will develop new courses on women and science, incorporate new scholarship on gender and science into the existing curriculum and develop innovative teaching methods for women studying science. The project will produce several publications about the curricular changes developed on these 10 campuses and ways schools can successfully bridge the gender-science gap.

The 10 institutions were chosen by a national panel of leading women science scholars. The Women and Scientific Literacy (WSL) project is directed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Program on the Status and Education of Women (PSEW) with a $857,244 grant from the National Science Foundation.

An annual stipend of $10,000 goes to Bates for the first two years of the project. Other resources available include a national science consultant to guide their projects, bibliographic and curricular resources, access to a moderated e-mail discussion group and participation in two national conferences.

Other participating institutions include: University of Arizona; Barnard College; California State University – Long Beach; Greenfield Community College; University of Illinois at Chicago; Portland State University; University of Rhode Island; Rowan College of New Jersey; and St. Lawrence University.

Founded in 1971, PSEW is one of only two women’s offices in national higher education associations, and the sole one whose central mission is to improve undergraduate education.

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