The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Women in Science Program

ADVANCEment Towards Institutional Transformation at Towson University   (ADVANCE IT)

Background Information:

The issue of a leaky Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) pipeline involves the movement of young women and other underrepresented groups through K–12, a B.S., and a Ph.D., and into an academic tenure-track position and has been emphasized over the past 20 years. Much preliminary effort has been placed on increasing the input into the early stages of the pipeline. Many of these programs have assisted in increasing the numbers of young women who obtain Ph.D.s and are competitive for entry level tenure-track positions (especially in the life sciences). However, current studies indicate that there are still issues with getting women through the Academic pipeline to positions of full professor and into administrative leadership roles. A focus has been placed on professional schools and R1 Ph.D. granting institutions, but the comprehensive universities also need to be included in the discussion as they play a major role in maintaining the pipeline and are often a starting point for many women entering tenure-track positions in Academia. Towson University provides an excellent model for a study of the factors that influence the advancement of women in academic science careers in comprehensive universities as the second largest college in Maryland and the largest comprehensive university in the Baltimore area.


The intent of the Towson University IT-Start program is to collect historical and baseline information needed to develop a strategy to advance transformation related to women faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The data collected will serve to inform policies and practices affecting the recruitment, selection, retention, scholarship, tenure, promotion, and advancement to university leadership positions of female and minority faculty at Towson.


  • The overall goal will be to identify roadblocks for female faculty members and major issues involved in their recruitment, retention, and advancement at Towson.
  • The long term goal is to develop a data driven approach to addressing factors that result in the under-representation of women and minorities at all faculty and administration levels.
  • Transform departmental, college, and university culture and practices with the active participation of individuals at all levels in the university.


  • Determine the climate for women faculty in the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics.
  • Review current university policies and procedures related to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty in STEM fields.
  • Develop a plan for institutional transformation based on the data.

Data Sources:

Information will be collected from previous and current faculty as well as individuals who declined offers to become faculty members at Towson. Indicators such as salaries, recruitment and retention demographics, faculty applicant pools, tenure and promotion outcomes, university policies, and climate perception will be used to determine the institutions current climate. These will be considered from three key vantage points:

  • Institutional Issues,
  • Career Issues, and
  • Family Issues.


Principle Investigator: Gail E. Gasparich, Ph.D. ( is a Professor of Biological Science and Director of The Women in Science Program. Dr. Gasparich has a productive research laboratory where she has graduated six M.S. students and worked with several undergraduates. She is strongly involved in the development of programs for the recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minorities into all areas of science and mathematics.


  • M. Paz Galup, Ph.D. ( is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute for Academic Diversity and Inclusion. Her primary research addresses issues of identity related to the intersections of sex, gender, race, and sexual orientation as it frames personal, social, and work relationships.
  • Ryan E. Casey, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and participating faculty member in the interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Studies undergraduate program and Environmental Science graduate program. Dr. Casey can provide much personal insight through recent experience with tenure and promotion as well as raising a young family.
  • Jay Zimmerman, Ph.D. is a Professor of Mathematics. Dr. Zimmerman has been interested in Diversity issues for a long time. He regularly attends the Multicultural Conference at Towson as well as Diversity Workshops.
  • Alex Storrs, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences specializing in planetary astrophysics. He has been a member of the “Women in Science” group in the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics since 2002, and he is a signatory to the “Baltimore Charter” on the status of women in astronomy.

ADVANCE IT Faculty Researchers: Alex Storrs, Gail Gasparach, Jay Zimmerman, Paz Galupo and Ryan Casey

"ADVANCEment Towards Institutional Transformation at Towson University (ADVANCE-IT)" is a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Drs. Alex Storrs, Gail Gasparich, Jay Zimmerman, Paz Galupo and Ryan Casey.



University Police

Closings & News
410-704-NEWS (6397)

Text Alerts
Sign up now