More than 175 attend national Denice Denton Emerging Leaders Workshop

More than 175 mid-career STEM faculty and other academic leaders from across the country met in Madison, Wisc., on June 3 for the Denice Denton Emerging Leaders Workshop.

Inspired by the work and legacies of Denice D. Denton, the recipients of the decade-old Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award organized the faculty development workshop. It focused on helping mid-career faculty develop knowledge, skills, strategies, and critical networks. The event aimed to support and further develop a new generation of academic women and men prepared and energized to be leaders, mentors and coaches, and to contribute to transforming the climate to enable success for those in science and engineering independent of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, country of origin, and other dimensions of diversity.

The participants included some 120 mid-career faculty, 20 full professors who acted as coaches, senior staff from several academic institutions and 16 senior graduate students who were competitively selected for their ability and interest in pursuing academic careers. They came from the STEM fields of engineering, computing, mathematical and physical sciences, and were assistant or associate professors with 4-15 years of experience in tenure-line faculty positions.

They learned from plenary speakers, panels of distinguished academic leaders, and their more senior colleagues in small group “laser coaching” sessions designed to help them develop strategies for success and individual leadership plans. In addition, participants gained insight from working with their peers and near-peers throughout the day.

Topics included strategies for mid-career development planning, modes of academic leadership, developing and utilizing mentors and sponsors, skills for effective team science, conflict resolution, negotiation, mitigating implicit bias, performance evaluation, accountability plans and practices to improve strategies for inclusion within lab groups, departments, and schools, and work-life integration.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce gave the first keynote address titled, “My Life in Administration: From Accident to Career.” Cauce, who until recently considered herself an “accidental administrator,” shared the insights she’s gained during her journey from assistant professor to university president. Her talk so engaged the participants that they later sought her advice for a full half hour during the break.

Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe gave the second keynote address via Skype due to a recent injury. “Twists and Turns as an Academic Leader” described her adventures, mishaps and insights as a female scientist and engineer who was mindful of both her professional career and her family. She described her goal of making the culture of science and engineering welcoming to everyone with passion and ability, from poets and football players to women and under-represented minorities.

A “Panel on Cultivating Leadership Potential and Overcoming Challenges on the Path to Leadership” featured four speakers who each brought a unique perspective to the topic. The panel was co-moderated by Professor Carol Espy-Wilson, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Engineering, University of Maryland; and TSMC Distinguished Professor in Microelectronics Tsu-Jae King Liu, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley.

The panelists were:

Emily Allen, Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles;

Molly Carnes, Professor, Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Industrial & Systems Engineering, co-director, WISELI and director, UW Center for Women, University of Wisconsin-Madison;

Robert Gray, Alcatel-Lucent Technologies Professor of Communications & Networking, School of Engineering, Emeritus, Stanford University, and Research Professor, Boston University;

Evelynn Hammonds, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science, Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

The workshop’s steering committee was chaired by ISR Director Reza Ghodssi (ECE/ISR) and included Naomi Chesler, Beth Pruitt, Susan Daniel, Rachel Pottinger, Nadya Mason, Tiffani Williams, Alice Pawley, Thamar Solorio and Lydia Tapia. Its advising committee was Susan Burkett, Leslie Field, Tsu-Jae King Liu, Carol Muller, Telle Whitney, Carol Espy-Wilson, Deanna Kosaraju, Steve Marcus, Benedicte Richardson and Chris Zorman. The organizing committee was Jennifer Sheridan, Amy Wendt, Regina King, Vicki Bier, Lydia Zepeda, Bari Mitchell, Katherine Cline and Rebecca Copeland.

The workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Anita Borg Institute, the University of Wisconsin, Stanford University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Alabama.

A photo gallery of the event is available here. Insights gained from the speakers were live tweeted under #ddelworkshop on Twitter.

Published June 3, 2016