What is FORWARD?
Focus on Reaching Women for Academics, Research and Development in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (FORWARD) is a joint program of the George Washington and Gallaudet Universities funded by the National Science Foundation, originally by the Program for Women and Girls and, more recently, by several ADVANCE awards and one NIH award. The goal has been from the beginning and continues today to advance women, the Deaf and other underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
History and Purpose
The first project, FORWARD in SEM, looked at the undergraduate to graduate juncture and featured among other initiatives the FORWARD to Graduate School workshops. Based on their success, the current FORWARD to Professorship workshops were developed. This workshop is provided for women and minorities who may be considering, or are currently in, a tenure track position in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
The FORWARD to Professorship workshop provides information, skills development, mentoring and networking for a successful bid for a tenure-track professorship in STEM. It has been run nationally in Washington, DC since 2003 and has been adapted to the MIT community in 2005, where it runs annually under the name of Path of Professorship. Enrollment averages 40-50 participants along with 20 speakers per year.
Our latest project, PAY IT FORWARD, aims to train new groups to develop and run similar workshops to advance women and underrepresented minorities in STEM academia, with regional, discipline or affinity group foci. The trainees will be mentored by experienced leaders and will benefit from advice from other leadership development experts.
- Workshop participants: typically applying for or in tenure-track positions attending the FORWARD workshop
- Workshop trainees: observing the FORWARD workshop and learning to develop similar workshops
- FORWARD mentors: experienced leaders or workshop developers
- Leadership development experts: experienced leadership development organizers in similar or other arenas for women in scientific fields