Washington Update

Ford Conference Fosters Diversity in the Humanities and STEM

By: Teresa Ramírez
Thursday, November 1, 2018

During the 2018 Conference of Ford Fellows, “Stronger Together: Navigating Power and Privilege,” speakers and fellows joined together for wide-ranging conversations about making a positive impact within their communities – and worldwide. The conference was held at the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering (NASEM) in Irvine, California, October 19-20.

The NASEM Fellowship Office administers the Ford Foundation’s predoctoral, dissertation, postdoctoral, and senior fellowships. These fellowships create new opportunities for diverse scholars to achieve their career goals in the Humanities and in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Dr. Donna J. Nelson, a Native American Chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma, delivered one of the conference keynotes. She discussed the report “Nelson Diversity Surveys: Quantifying Demographics of STEM Faculty at Research Universities,” which revealed the demographics of tenured and tenure track STEM faculty in research universities. These surveys were conducted in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2012, and showed the representation of women in STEM disciplines increased slowly. The number of minority faculty increased more slowly and even decreased in some disciplines.

At the Ford Conference, a series of academic exchange sessions were held, including History and Literature, Physical Science, and Mathematics, and special interest sessions such as Gender Relations and Respect in Academia. FASEB staff participated in the special interest session Writing Successful Grant Proposals: STEM, and shared various resources available at FASEB.