Kelley Barsanti in the CE-CERT Facility

Women's Faculty Association

The UCR Women's Faculty Association

The UCR Women's Faculty Association has been an important institutional presence on our campus since the mid-2000s. Started by Professor Betty Lord and later shepherded by Professor Nancy Beckage, the Women's Faculty Association fostered community and provided a voluntary mentoring service connecting junior faculty with more senior mentors outside their department. It held quarterly meetings and events tailored to building community amongst the women-identified members and provided advising in professional career development.  As the driving forces behind the Women's Faculty Association transitioned to retirement, the organization became less formally active.

In 2011, an NSF-supported FORWARD grant program provided the impetus to reinvigorate the UCR Women's Faculty Association, providing a mechanism to sustain the programming developed through our ADVANCE program beyond the grant period. The Women's Faculty Association is open to all ladder rank faculty and beyond. Many of our activities are also open to lecturers and research professionals who do not have formal academic appointments, for example agriculture extension specialists.  Through the original NSF ADVANCE grant, the Women's Faculty Association sponsored a series of lunch meetings that provided opportunities for women to share in a lecture/discussion of general interest, meet informally, and develop a support community outside of their departments. During the 2011-2012 academic year, luncheon topics included a discussion of the promotion and tenure process at UCR, strategies for effective mentoring, women's health and well-being, the extraordinary differences between males and females in the animal kingdom, and how the myth that women faculty can 'Just Say No' to service obscures and promotes gender inequities. Although UCR is well-recognized for the diversity of our student body, the diversity of our faculty does not yet mirror that of our campus. The participation of women, especially women of color, in many fields within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines is lower than would be predicted by Ph.D. graduation rates. Women of color (WOC) faculty in STEM fields can face special barriers and because they are so few in number it is difficult to reach the critical mass required for a support network on any given campus.

Through the Women's Faculty Association, we organized informative programming and informal networking opportunities organized through regular lunch meetings and an annual retreat for four consecutive years. In addition, with support of the NSF and the UCR administration, data mining and analysis was performed to evaluate the recruitment, retention and professional success of women faculty in the STEM fields.  There have been many varied attempts to re-establish the Women's Faculty Association mentoring network, inviting women faculty at all levels to participate as a mentor and/or mentee. Mentees can be paired with a faculty mentor from their college, but outside of their department. In addition to the individual meetings of mentor/mentee pairs, informal coffee meetings focused on assistant or associate professors and their mentors bring together faculty with common questions and challenges for small group discussions of problems and strategies.

From 2011-2018 and long after the life of the NSF Forward Advance grant, the EVC/Provost provided additional funds for the UCR Women’s Faculty Association to include faculty from across all academic colleges far beyond the sciences.  From 2018 onward, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has continued to provide funding and administrative support to the leadership and programming of the Women’s Faculty Association.



Faculty Organization foR Women's Advancement, Recognition and Development

The University of California – Riverside (UCR) ADVANCE program was initiated in 2011 with funding from an NSF PAID (Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation, and Dissemination) grant. The FORWARD program was a comprehensive and sustainable effort to support the professional advancement of women faculty in the STEM fields at UCR and across other institutions in the state of California. The program aims were to:

  • Conduct extensive analysis and data mining at UCR to evaluate the recruitment, retention, and professional success of women faculty in the STEM fields
  • Establish programming for women in STEM to foster success, leadership, and community-building
  • Build a statewide network of women of color (WOC) faculty in the STEM fields at institutions throughout California from which women of color can garner personal and professional support.

Through the support of the Office of the Provost and working through partner organizations with common goals, such as the revitalized UCR Women Faculty Association and AWIS (the Association for Women in Science), we established ongoing programming and resources that foster success in STEM fields at UCR.


                                                                                      UC Riverside's ADVANCE Program was sponsored by NSF Grant #1107245




The 2012 UCR Women's faculty retreat was held Sept 12-14th at Pala Mesa Resort in Temecula. The theme for the 2012 retreat was "Finding Joy in the Academy". The retreat program was facilitated by Dr. Barbara Minsker, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Professor Minsker, a respected researcher and teacher in her field, is also the author of the book The Joyful Professor.

Women's Faculty Association Luncheon Meetings

The Women's Faculty Association organized a series of informational luncheon meetings for the 2012-13 academic year.

Marigold Linton "Building Teams, Creating Dreams"

Dr. Linton's informal presentation highlighted her successful NIH-funded programs to promote collaboration, training, and mentoring between Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas. She discussed the SACNAS Summer Leadership Institutes, which offers training for underrepresented minority scientists interested in advancing their leadership skills.

Marigold Linton grew up on the Morongo Reservation just east of Riverside. She was a member of UCR’s inaugural 4-year class and received a BA from UCR and a Ph.D. from UCLA. She taught experimental cognitive psychology for more than two decades at San Diego State University and at the University of Utah. Her innovative research examines very long-term memory. As an administrator, she developed American Indian programs at Arizona State University (with NSF and NASA funding – providing math/science programs for reservation youth) then moved to KU to build collaborations to support science research experiences for underrepresented minority students at the University of Kansas (KU) and Haskell Indian Nations University. Funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS) over the last 14 years includes these grants: Bridges to the Baccalaureate that brings Haskell students into KU science laboratories, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE that provides infrastructure and research support at Haskell, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) to support KU URM science undergraduates, Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) to help prepare URMs with a BA but lacking qualifications to enter a good graduate school, and Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) grants that provide research experiences for postdoctoral fellows at KU and support them to teach science classes at Haskell.

She was a founder of both SACNAS and the National Indian Education Association. She has worked closely with SACNAS for more than two decades, serves as the PI on the current conference grant and on the pending conference proposal. She helped formulate a SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute and with her husband, Robert Barnhill, has served as a mentor for the 30 trainees each summer for the last four years. Notable recent awards include the 2009/2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), a 2012 honorary doctorate from Pomona College, and the UCR 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Michael Pazzani, Advancing Research and Commercialization

Retired Vice-chancellor for research at UCR, Mike Pazzani spoke about making enhancements to the Office of Research and working hard to help UCR's faculty succeed. He presented an overview of what is new in the research office and provided tips for funding success.