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Villanova Initiative to Support Inclusiveness and Build Leaders

In 2018, Villanova University was awarded a $3 Million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant to fund a project that will encourage and support the advancement of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

With this grant, the University’s research team is examining how higher education institutions in transition—such as Villanova, which was elevated by the Carnegie Foundation to a Doctoral Research Institution in 2016—can position themselves to increase the full participation of women in the STEM fields to ensure that they play a role in defining, and benefit from, changes occurring in an evolving educational landscape. Read the University's press release announcing the grant. 

About the Project

The Villanova ADVANCE office is known as the VISIBLE program—Villanova Initiative to Support Inclusiveness and Build Leaders. Housed in the Office of the Provost, this office partners with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women's Leadership to form a cohesive team to advance intersectional gender equity.

Focusing on both research and programming, the VISIBLE team will undertake a critical review of Villanova’s recruiting, hiring and retention practices; its campus culture for diversity, inclusion and equity; and how its evolving status as a national research university impacts its faculty, particularly in STEM. Based upon Villanova’s work, the team will develop a proposed model of institutional change that could enable other higher education institutions to reduce the potential for institutional bias against women and underrepresented groups during times of major institutional transition.

The VISIBLE team will work with outside experts to develop unique and impactful training and engagement opportunities for senior campus leaders, department leadership, and faculty. The effectiveness of different approaches will be assessed as part of a research study, to determine what model might be most effective both at Villanova and across higher education.

Key Initiatives

The VISIBLE team will plan and execute a series of initiatives to support the goals and desired outcomes of the project. These initiatives are grouped into three main tracks that will combine to build a community in which female STEM faculty are effectively hired, supported and advanced within the institution and included during a transformative period at Villanova.

Change Management Illustration
Hiring, Promotion and Assessment Illustration
Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Illustration

Upcoming Events

Returning to On-Campus Research—Virtual Q&A With Research Leadership

On June 3, the Villanova Institute for Research and Scholarship and the Villanova Initiative to Support Inclusiveness and Build Leaders (VISIBLE) co-hosted a conversation about the University's plan for a phased return to on-campus research. 

A recording of this event is available at this link, under Resources for Research.


Postponed - Spring 2020 Campus Leaders Workshop

Please note that the May 19, 2020 Campus Leaders Workshop, hosted by the Villanova Initiative to Support Inclusiveness and Build Leaders (VISIBLE), has been postponed to Spring 2021.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1824237. 

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.