Work on gender equity at CSU was catapulted to front and center in 2013, when then President Tony Frank created a Presidential initiative to 

“make Colorado State the best place for women to work and learn”

Many groups and individuals across the university worked to bring us to that point and beyond. For example, the Women’s Studies program, the Council for Gender Equity on the Faculty (CoGen; formerly the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty), assisted in designing strategies and activities that enhanced gender equity and faculty women’s issues. 

These efforts and others, including a strong financial commitment from the administration led to a successful grant to the National Science Foundation, which awarded an interdisciplinary team nearly $1 million for an ADVANCE Adaptation grant in 2021 to enhance equity on the CSU faculty. 

The focus of the NSF ADVANCE adaptation program is improving gender equity on the STEM faculty, with a focus on members of historically minoritized groups, as data analyses showed that we, like many other universities, need to better recruit and retain those faculty members. 

This grant forms the initial core of the Faculty Success program, housed in the Office of the Provost. The program aims to provide an environment in which all members of CSU’s faculty can thrive as outstanding scholars and educators, through improving equity in CSU cultures, structures, and climate. 

CSU ADVANCE Adaptation Grant

Starting in fall 2021, the initial focus of CSU’s ADVANCE adaptation program has been on gender equity for STEM faculty, with the plan to expand programming to encompass equity more broadly in all disciplines. 

CSU ADVANCE Grant Logic Model

Logic model of proposed work with identified barriers to the representation of women and minoritized faculty members at CSU along with project goals, measurable outcomes, and strategic impacts. 


  • CSU is large and decentralized, making consistent and coordinated change a challenge
  • Bias and social networks can influence recruitment, annual and promotion and tenure evaluation
  • Minoritized women experience bias based on both race or ethnicity and gender
  • Department leaders need additional support and tools to pursue DEI goals


  • Recruitment:
    • Adapt STRIDE program to fit within and leverage existing CSU structures
  • Retention:
    • Improve equity of annual review, tenure, and promotion processes
    • Strengthen and expand existing exit and retention data collection and analysis
    • Improve community and support through Advocates & Allies model
  • Leadership:
    • Support consistency, transparency and DEI goals of leadership


  • Recruitment:
    • Adapt the STRIDE handbook for enhancing diversity in CSU faculty searches
    • Adapt existing faculty search evaluation rubrics to incorporate STRIDE DEI items
    • Develop college and departmental search training series to include the following STRIDE materials: Search is a Verb, 10 Best Practices, and Managing the Visit
  • Retention:
    • Develop a Promotion and Tenure chair and committee member training program
    • Develop a mixed-methods approach for understanding attrition and retention
    • Recruit Advocates to participate in existing FIIE or other programs to train-the-trainer
    • Incorporate P&T training into existing institutional required training structure
    • Incorporate COACHE survey to the existing retention/exit interview structure
    • Adapt interview protocol and create data analysis protocol to support concurrent mixed methods approach
    • Advocates recruit and train Allies through FIIE and other training programs
  • Leadership
    • Integrate DEI efforts into evaluation of deans and department chair/heads.
    • Adapt the FIIE training specifically to create a CHIIE for department chairs/heads
    • Develop a reward application structure to encourage early participation in CHIIE


  • Recruitment:
    • Increased number of minoritized and non-minoritized women applying for and making it through first round of faculty searches.
    • Increased proportion of underrepresented people on the faculty at CSU.
    • DEI efforts are uniformly incorporated into a greater number of departmental P&T processes (i.e., given a specific weight).
  • Retention
    • Increased number of underrepresented faculty members awarded promotion and/or tenure.
    • Institutionalized climate survey & interview data collection, analysis, and response process
    • Minoritized and non-minoritized faculty, including women, can identify allies and support structures.
  • Leadership
    • Leaders feel more urgency and are supported in the implementation of DEI efforts.

Strategic Impacts:

  • Transformed culture that acknowledges and incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusivity practices
  • Established a welcoming and supportive climate for all CSU faculty
  • Institutionalized structures to support and promote DEI efforts
  • CSU is an institution that uses evidence-based practices for achieving gender equity

Descriptions of Acronyms and Programs

DEI - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
FIIE - Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence
CHIIE - Chairs and Heads Institute for Inclusive Excellence
COACHE - Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education
P&T - Promotion and Tenure

About the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program

The goal of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators. As such, ADVANCE is an integral part of the NSF's multifaceted strategy to broaden participation in the STEM workforce, and supports the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of women in academic science and engineering. The NSF ADVANCE program seeks to build on prior research and literature concerning gender, racial, and ethnic equity. The program provides grants to enhance the systemic factors that support equity and inclusion and to mitigate the systemic factors that create inequities in the academic profession and workplaces. Since 2001, the NSF has invested over $270M to support ADVANCE projects at more than one-hundred institutions of higher education and STEM-related not-for-profit organizations in forty-one states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, including twenty-four EPSCoR jurisdictions.

More about NSF ADVANCE: