A public university is a million dollars richer thanks to a federal grant to pursue “gender equality” in STEM majors – but only after review.
Campus Reform first reported on the $1.25 million grant acquired by the University of Alabama-Birmingham to encourage more female participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The grant came from the National Science Foundation.
Derryck Green of Project 21 tells OneNewsNow the grant gives the appearance that UAB is trying to “tackle” the problem of too-few women in STEM careers.
“But it seems to me,” he says, “they're creating a problem to tackle, which is one of the reasons why they're so vague about what they're trying to accomplish."
For its story, Campus Reform quizzed the university’s vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion about what specific changes the university is making with its $1.25 million. But it received a word salad of a response.
Paulette Patterson Dilworth told Campus Reform the grant will help create “changes in practices and policies that inhibit gender equity and inclusion” but called Campus Reform's question a “bit premature” until the school can review its polices.
“Our work” Dilworth said, “will focus on recruitment, retention, T&P (tenure and promotion), etc. with the goal of being intentional and inclusive, and using intersectionality as our framing lens.”
UAB received a $3.4 millon grant in 2003 for the very same purpose, Campus Reform reported, and Dilworth announced in a press release that previous funding was used to address "implicit bias in hiring, tenure and promotion decisions that could lead women and individuals from different racial and ethnic populations to be evaluated less favorably, thus perpetuating historical under-participation in STEM academic careers."
When a university is handed a million dollar-plus grant, Green says, it should be doing more than reviewing policies.
“You should be able to explicitly state what practices and policies are going to be addressed,” he says, “but how those practices and policies right now are preventing more women from getting into this area."