Since being established in 2018, VISIBLE has developed unique and impactful training and engagement opportunities for senior campus leaders, department leadership and faculty to advance intersectional gender equality in STEM fields.
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. The goal of ADVANCE at the National Science Foundation is to increase the representation of women in STEM careers at all levels, thereby contributing to development of a more diverse STEM workforce.
The Villanova ADVANCE grant establishes VISIBLE—the Villanova Initiative to Support Inclusiveness and Build Leaders. Housed in the Office of the Provost, VISIBLE 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. Read the University's press release announcing the grant.
Villanova is an institution in transition, as evidenced by the University’s elevation by the Carnegie Foundation to a Doctoral Research Institution in 2016, implementation of a new ten-year Strategic Plan in 2020, and changes in leadership at both the University and college level. The arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 brought additional change for all institutions of higher education, including differential impacts of the pandemic on scholars, an economic downturn, and calls for addressing racial inequities in society.
In a landscape of shifting University identity and expectations, faculty members experience additional pressures. Research shows that in institutions undergoing change, women and members of other minoritized groups are more vulnerable to these shifting—and often unspoken—expectations.
As Villanova continues to evolve, it is imperative that our institutional transition occurs in such a way that all faculty participate in and benefit from the changes. This project will help the University to transform by both studying and managing these shifts in faculty culture and expectations.
The VISIBLE team will plan and execute a series of initiatives to support the desired outcomes of the project. These initiatives are grouped into three spheres of action that will combine to build a community in which faculty are effectively hired, supported and advanced at Villanova.
Prepare mid-level campus leaders to navigate a changing faculty culture and expectations, particularly as they impact equity and inclusion.
Hiring, Promotion and Assessment
Provide resources and expertise to improve intersectional equity and inclusion in the policies and procedures that impact hiring and advancement of faculty at Villanova.
Improving the Culture for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Advocate for policy and process changes to foster a climate at Villanova grounded in intersectional gender equity and inclusion. Execute a unique research project that studies the effects of different training techniques on the management of stress and reduction of unconscious bias during institutional transformation.
While the NSF ADVANCE grant focuses on improving Villanova’s recruitment and advancement of women faculty in STEM disciplines, the VISIBLE office aims to leverage its programs to impact all disciplines and minoritized groups across the institution.
At Villanova, leadership for equity and inclusion is integral to the University’s Augustinian mission and strategic plan.
VISIBLE seeks to illuminate the responsibility of academic leaders to create a welcoming and equitable community, in service of Villanova’s mission and core values – Veritas, Unitas, Caritas.
VISIBLE aims to empower academic leaders by:
- Exploring possible process and policy change
- Providing professional development and support
- Fostering related research
VISIBLE takes an interest in all aspects of equity among faculty across all Colleges and disciplines at Villanova.
Focusing on both research and programming, the VISIBLE team will undertake a critical review of Villanova’s recruiting, hiring and promotion practices in the context of its evolving status as a national research university. To support this work, the VISIBLE team will develop unique and impactful leadership training and engagement opportunities for senior campus leaders, department leadership, and faculty. The stated goals of Villanova's ADVANCE grant are as follows:
- Use the principles of organizational change management theory to prepare Villanova's leadership to manage the transition in institutional identity in an inclusive and equitable manner.
- Employ workshops on individual change management theory to assist faculty members as they navigate a shifting landscape of expectations.
- Implement interventions aimed at removing barriers to the success of women on the faculty in STEM departments, in the realms of hiring, assessment, and promotion, as well as in the broader University climate for diversity.
- Execute a unique research project that parallels the change management focus and studies the effects of different training techniques on the management of stress and reduction of unconscious bias during institutional transformation.
- Develop a model for other institutions undergoing major change.
Achievement of these five goals is anticipated to have a positive impact on:
- the scholarly productivity of the women on the faculty of STEM departments;
- the rate at which existing women on the faculty of STEM departments are promoted to Full Professor;
- the rate at which Villanova hires women, particularly minoritized women, in the STEM fields; and
- the diversity in key leadership roles.
Meet the VISIBLE Team
The Villanova ADVANCE office is known as the VISIBLE program—Villanova Initiative to Support Inclusiveness and Build Leaders. Part of 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.
Vice Provost for Research
Chief Research Officer
Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Grannas is an active researcher in the field of environmental chemistry. An internationally-renowned expert in snow chemistry, she has led field research at several different sites in the Arctic, aimed at better understanding surface-atmosphere connections and links to climate change. Dr. Grannas has overall administrative and reporting responsibility for VISIBLE and supervises the Project Director.
Mahoney Family Endowed Professorship in Business
Professor of Management
Villanova School of Business
Dr. Quigley is an expert in team dynamics, diversity, organizational culture, leadership and workplace discrimination whose research has been published by leading journals. Dr. Quigley is leading the research activities associated with VISIBLE, including a social science research project investigating whether specific training approaches can lessen a leader’s subconscious biases.
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
College of Engineering
Dr. Comolli directs the Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory, housed within the College of Engineering, where she researches the development of nanoparticles for drug delivery. Dr. Comolli is the College of Engineering representative on the VISIBLE team. Her work focuses on driving forward the Change Management and Hiring, Assessment and Promotion initiatives.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Professor of Communication
Dr. Nance is a national leader in interpersonal communication and multicultural affairs in higher education. Her research has investigated the perceptions and stages of interracial relationship development, diversity and inclusion, and intergroup dialogue. As part of VISIBLE, Dr. Nance oversees diversity and inclusion training for all faculty and administrators, as well as the expansion of the Intergroup Relations program.
Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Assessment, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Associate Teaching Professor of Education and Counseling
Dr. Fishman teaches graduate social science courses in Counseling Research and Evaluation, and Educational Research Methods. He directs the assessment outcomes process for more than 20 academic departments and assists with their program evaluation and accreditation reviews. In his role as Internal Evaluator, Dr. Fishman is collecting data and advising the leadership team on how to support the ongoing goals of the initiative.
Assistant Vice Provost of Centers and Institutes
Director, Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women's Leadership
Associate Professor of Education & Counseling
Dr. Boyer is an innovative leader in economic and social equity for women who has published widely on educational and workforce equity, institutional reform for equity, women’s education and leadership, the effectiveness of equity programs and assessment and teacher training. A skilled researcher, Dr. Boyer’s work focuses on the issues of the advancement of women and gender equity.
Elizabeth Svenson, MS, MPA
Adam Smith, MA
Lauren Miltenberger, PhD
VISIBLE Faculty Fellow, 2020 - 2021
Kristin Broussard, PhD
ADVANCE Postdoctoral Scholar
Adjunct Faculty Member, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Villanova Administrators and Faculty
- David Anderson: Assistant Professor, Management and Operations
- Lillian "Boots" Cassel: Professor, Computing Sciences
- Vikram Iyengar: Professor and Assistant Chair, Biology
- Adele Lindenmeyr: Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of History
- Wen Mao: Associate Dean of Faculty, School of Business and Associate Professor of Economics
- Jill McCorkel: Professor of Sociology and Criminology and Program Faculty, Africana Studies Program and Center for Irish Studies
- Alfonso Ortega: Professor of Energy Technology, Mechanical Engineering
- Joyce Russell: Dean, Villanova School of Business and Professor of Management
- Flannery Stevens: Assistant Professor, Management and Operations
- James Trainer: Associate Vice President and Executive Director, Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness
- Andrea Welker: Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Engineering and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Craig Wheeland: Vice Provost for Academics and Professor of Public Administration
- Rosalind Wynne: Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director, Laboratory for Lightwave Devices
Peers from Regional and National Organizations and Institutions
- Margaret Bailey: Senior Faculty Associate to the Provost for ADVANCE, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology
- Koren Bedeau: Senior Associate Provost for Special Projects, George Washington University
- Nance Dicciani: Founder, RTM Vital Signs, LLC. and past Member of the Board of Trustees, Villanova University
- Holly Slay Ferraro: Associate Professor of Management and Program Director, Professional MBA Program, Seattle University
- Amy Fleischer: Dean, College of Engineering, California Polytechnic State University
- Jose Fuentes: Professor of Meteorology, Penn State College of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science
- Candace Robertson-James: Assistant Professor and Director, Master of Public Health Program, LaSalle University
- Patricia Roos: Professor of Sociology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey