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  1. An increasing body of work is exploring mentoring within contexts that go beyond traditional one-on-one mentoring, including learning communities and mentoring circles. Research indicates that these alternative forms of mentoring better support all faculty, including those whose identities tend to lead to isolation in STEM: BIPOC faculty, women, and LGBTQ+. Group mentoring approaches can address multiple facets of the mentee(s) as a whole person in an efficient manner. Cross-Institutional Mentoring Communities (CIMCs) were designed to create networks of mentoring as a support and feedback mechanism for faculty who may also face challenges related to their personal characteristics and/or specific identities, especially intersectional identities traditionally underrepresented in STEM, or simultaneous demands of an academic career and caregiving responsibilities. Communities were formed with two to three junior and/or mid-career faculty and one or two senior mentors from four midwestern institutions. With the goal of retention at the forefront, quantitative and qualitative assessments of the CIMCs were designed to enable formative feedback to guide improvements to the CIMC support network and further implementation phases. While it was not originally the intent, the CIMCs also provided an opportunity to more deeply examine how the pandemic impacted women faculty with identities that compound disadvantage. Virtualmore »meetings were held at roughly bimonthly intervals. Mentors were regularly provided guidance on mentoring and topics to discuss with their mentoring groups. While the pandemic impacted the original timeline and topical foci of the CIMCs, the virtual format of the CIMCs provided an opportunity to offer resources to assist faculty in navigating these unprecedented challenges: CIMC mentors and groups followed a "just in time" format with topics introduced and addressed responsively.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. NSF ADVANCE has been instrumental in supporting institutional practices leading to the increased representation of women in STEM. However, research suggests institutional culture and practices evolve slowly, and much progress remains to create a collaborative and supportive work environment where women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers can thrive, particularly those with intersectional identities, including women of color and women with caregiving responsibilities. A partnership of four midwestern research universities joined together in late 2019 to adapt, design, implement, and assess the impact of a coordinated suite of programs intended to enhance the career success of women and underrepresented STEM faculty. The programs promote mentoring, male advocacy, and informed and intentional leadership as integral to campus culture, and foster community and cross-institutional data-based collaboration. This paper summarizes the programs designed and implemented to improve retention and job satisfaction of women in STEM fields with a focus on the intersectionalities of women of color and women with family responsibilities, including navigating the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, by creating support networks for these faculty.