Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Grad Student Network Awarded Diversity Grant

The Women’s Faculty and Graduate Student Network at a 2019 luncheon session on teaching practices.

The college’s goal to support and further diversity has been recognized and boosted by a grant from the university.

Two graduate students affiliated with the college’s Women’s Faculty and Graduate Students Network have been awarded a $1,000 President’s Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant. Hannah Hoover is pursuing her Ph.D. in economics and Marielena Dias is a Ph.D. student in political science.

The network is one of three established at the college in 2018 – along with faculty and graduate student groups for people of color and self-identified LGBTQ+ – to provide academic, social and professional development support for participants.

The grant will help fund a series of luncheon seminars addressing issues faced by women as teachers and researchers. Speakers for the initial seminars will likely be chosen from academics and professionals beyond the FSU campus.

The purpose of the seminar series to is provide insight and mentorship regarding such topics as building an inclusive atmosphere for those who are non-binary and/or gender non-conforming, classroom dynamics and conflict mitigation and mandatory Title IX reporting.

According to Hoover and Dias, sessions will be designated to topics that broadly influence women in academia, among them networking etiquette and conference strategies, setting up for success as a graduate student and tips for negotiating and interviews.

The first of these seminars will likely take place in fall semester 2019.

The grant will also cover a climate survey of graduate students within the college. This survey will include questions on departments’ commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity. The purpose is to foster transparency within the college and highlight the departments most successful at recruiting and maintaining gender diversity, as well as pinpoint further work that the units still need to do in that area.

In their grant application, Hoover and Dias made a strong case for the value of such a series and for the women’s network as a whole.

“With the advice and knowledge gained from these seminars and keynote speakers, women will be better prepared to succeed professionally, which will ultimately improve the equity of gender representation across disciplines,” they wrote. “We expect attendees to become more knowledgeable on professional topics and gender-related issues as well as becoming competent on how to address said issues. As such, we expect attrition rates to decrease among female graduate students.”

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year, Dean Tim Chapin named the following faculty members to the steering committee for the women’s network: Chair Carol Weissert (Political Science), Irene Padavic (Sociology), Sarah Lester (Geography), and Katie Sherron (Economics). Dias is the graduate student representative on the committee.

“The college is positioning itself as a place that can support and nurture individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in the disciplines that call the college home,” Chapin said. “The graduate students in these networks will go on to academic careers and leadership roles in public, private and non-profit settings where they will ‘pay it forward’ and mentor successive generations.”